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Tumukunde 'itching' to cross-examine CID boss Grace Akullo

CID director Grace Akullo

CID director Grace Akullo

In an ironic legal twist of the hunter becoming the hunted, Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde is trying to drag CID director Grace Akullo to the dock. 
 
Tumukunde accuses Akullo of using the attorney general's services for her personal defense and wants to grill her in court over an earlier affidavit she claims she swore. The lawyers representing the presidential aspirant Tumukunde asked court to summon Akullo for cross-examination over her defense in the case where Tumukunde wants court to quash the summons she issued requiring him to report to appear at Kibuli CID headquarters.

In the summons dated August 17, 2020, Akullo argued that CID was investigating allegations that on several occasions, Tumukunde who is also the former Security minister, had held meetings with army veterans discussing issues related to politics. Akullo alleged that this was done at Tumukunde’s home in Kololo and also in other parts of the country, thus summoning him to the CID headquarters in Kibuli to record a statement. 

Last month, Tumukunde through his lawyers led by Anthony Wameli sued the attorney general and Akullo in their individual capacity accusing them of violating his constitutional right to liberty of movement and freedom of expression after summoning him. Tumukunde challenged the summons before the High court civil division seeking protection on grounds that he was afraid that he would be arrested since the summons never specified whether he was needed as a suspect or a witness.      

He asked court to issue an order restraining Akullo, government and their agents from further violating or threatening his rights enshrined in the Constitution based on the said summons.  

Akullo instead on September 1, 2020, swore an affidavit defending her actions, noting that she summoned Tumukunde after receiving numerous intelligence reports indicating that the former spymaster was meeting veterans to discuss ways in which to disrupt the ongoing electoral process in Uganda. 

While appearing before justice Musa Ssekaana today Thursday, Tumukunde’s lawyers led by Wameli asked court to summon Akullo, arguing that she swore an affidavit without appearing before the commissioner of oaths. Wameli also noted that Akullo who is sued in her individual capacity went ahead and gave the attorney general instructions to defend her in this matter yet she is supposed to be personally liable for her actions under the Human Rights (Enforcement) Act, 2019.   

As such, the lawyers asked court to summon Akullo to appear physically in court to defend her actions.    

"When the application came up today, we had earlier communicated to our colleagues; the attorney general, his lawyers that we intend to cross-examine Grace Akullo, because she is the only one who swore an affidavit opposing our application. There are particular areas we want to examine her about especially the act of her appearing or not appearing before the commissioner of oaths. Lastly, it is her instructions to the attorney general because we have sued her in her personal capacity, and in the affidavit, she swore both in her statements and also by the filing that the attorney general is her lawyer. We don’t expect the attorney general to represent her because she is being held personally liable for human rights violations," said Wemali.   

However, the principal state attorney Richard Adrole and commissioner in charge of civil litigation George Kalemera who represented the attorney general opposed the application. They noted that the right to cross-examine a witness who has given evidence in an affidavit is up to court's discretion.

Adrole, in particular, added that also, one must show good reasons and plead exceptional circumstances if they want to cross-examine a witness over their affidavit, which he says was not the case here.   

Court also heard that Akullo being a CID director she is entitled to be represented by the attorney general. The AG's representatives thus asked court to dismiss the prayer by Tumukunde's lawyers because the affidavit indicated that Akullo appeared before the commissioner of oaths Jackie Okot.

After hearing both sides, justice Ssekaana adjourned the matter to September 11 for ruling on whether to summon Akullo or not.  
 
© 2016 Observer Media Ltd