The Judiciary has warned the public against paying money to its staff in order to access their new technology aimed at eliminating paper usage in the court system.
The technology known as Electronic Court Case Management Information System-ECCMIS is a fully featured system that automates and tracks all aspects of a case life cycle from initial filing through disposition and appeal for any case type.
Addressing journalists in Kampala, the Judiciary Permanent Secretary Pius Bigirimana revealed that effective March 1st 2022, the courts will no longer accept any paper and that documents will be electronically filed by the Court users from wherever they will be at their convenient time.
According to Bigirimana, the Judiciary has set up ECCMIS Digital Kiosks to assist court users who do not have gadgets and internet services to file their court documents electronically.
But here, Bigirimana was quick to warn the public that once they go into those kiosks they shouldn’t pay any money to access the services because they are all free, courtesy of the government of Uganda.He strongly warned that whoever attempts to bribe his way out will be arrested together with the receiver and be prosecuted on charges related to bribery.
Speaking at the same event held at the Judiciary Headquarters, Chief Registrar Sarah Langa Siu noted that ECCMIS is going to be rolled out in three phases in 18 courts by the end of this Financial Year 2021/2022.
Langa says that in the first phase starting March 1st 2022, it will be rolled out at the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal/Constitutional Court , Anti Corruption Division, Land , Commercial and Civil Divisions of the High Court and Mengo Chief Magistrate’s Court.
In the second phase in April 2022, she revealed that the project will be rolled out in Jinja High Court, Jinja Chief Magistrates Court, Kakira Grade One Magistrates Court, Bugembe Grade One Magistrates Court Family Division and the International Crimes Division of the High Court.
In the third phase, Langa noted that on May 1st 2022, ECCMIS will kick start at the Criminal Division of the High Court, Buganda Road Chief Magistrates Court, Nakawa Chief Magistrates Court, Makindye Chief Magistrates Court and Law Development Centre Court.
She said ECCMIS is a multifunctional automated system that among others will help citizens to access courts anywhere on their computers, tablets and mobile phones.
Besides this, Uganda Radio Network has learnt that ECCMIS will also provide online services for case filing, payment of court fees, give automatic reminders on the progress of the case and free access to summons and judgements thereby reducing chances of physical contact with court staff which they say combats bribery thus corruption.
On September 16th 2019, the Judiciary signed a contract with Synergy International System an American Company in a Joint Venture with Sybyl Limited a local firm for a five year project to design , develop, deploy and mantain ECCMIS at 9.2 billion Shillings.
But, part of the five years of the project was dedicated to maintenance of the ECCMIS.
The Judiciary is not the first government institution to go digital. Uganda Revenue Authority and the Internal Affairs Ministry have successfully been providing some of their services online including payment of taxes and acquiring passports.
Asked where ECCMIS project was benchmarked and found to be successful, Bigirimana said they went to a number of countries including Rwanda and Botswana and it was doing well with minimal challenges.
ECCMIS was expected to start in this month after the New Law Year 2022 but the Judiciary has indicated that they were not ready at that time, but now all is set for them to go live come next month.
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