A newly appointed magistrate in Uganda has been stripped of his appointment after he was caught disguised as a woman to write an examination for his girlfriend.
The magistrate, Ammaari Musa Semwogerere, was arrested on Wednesday, July 26, after he was found sitting for a law examination on behalf of his girlfriend, Irene Mutonyi, at the Law Development Centre (LDC) Lira Campus.
Semwogerere was charged with two counts of forgery and a count of impersonation. He was remanded to prison until August 3, pending further hearing of the case.
The Judiciary, which appointed Semwogerere on probation two weeks ago, has since revoked his appointment.
In a statement, the Judiciary said that Semwogerere’s actions were “in contravention of the core principles of integrity and professionalism” that are expected of judicial officers.
The Judiciary said that it is “The Judiciary would like to inform the general public that Mr Semwogerere Ammaari Musa, one of the newly recruited Magistrates, will not be employed into the Judiciary Service.
“Mr Semwogerere Ammaari Musa was appointed a Judicial Officer on June 12, 2023, but the Judicial Service Commission, alongside 86 other persons to the position of Magistrate Grade One, was on probation.
“According to the Chief Registrar, Her Worship Sarah Langa Siu, the Judiciary is finalizing the appointment process of the said officers, after which they will be sworn in. She added that among the core principles in the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers is integrity, a bedrock to the proper discharge of the Judicial officer.
“Earlier today, Mr Semwogerere was remanded to Lira Main Prison, having been charged at the Lira Chief Magistrates Court on two counts of uttering a false document contrary to Section 351 of the Penal Code of Act and Impersonation contrary to Section 381 of the Penal Code Act.
“The Judiciary reiterates its commitment to upholding its core values of independence, impartiality, transparency, professionalism, integrity, and accountability,” Uganda’s judiciary letter reads in full.
Semwogerere’s case is the latest in a series of scandals to hit the Ugandan judiciary in recent years. In 2019, a high-profile judge was found guilty of corruption and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
The latest scandal has raised concerns about the integrity of the Ugandan judiciary and the need for greater transparency and accountability.