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Judiciary refunding bail cash through mobile money

Judiciary Permanent Secretary Pius Bigirimana

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Judiciary has started refunding money spent by suspects to get bail using mobile money. It was previously only being refunded through bank accounts.

The law provides for a refund of bail at the conclusion of the case whether one is convicted or acquitted. It is only in rare circumstances when the court orders the accused to forfeit it to the government.

However, speaking to Uganda Radio Network in an exclusive interview on Thursday, the Judiciary Permanent Secretary Pius Bigirimana said they have been stuck with 26 billion shillings’ bail cash which hasn’t been claimed for either because of ignorance or for fear of getting re-arrested.

Further, he said the Judiciary has learnt that some ordinary people charged in courts don’t have bank accounts where their money can be refunded.

As such, Bigirimana said they have now designed a system where people can get back their bail money using mobile money if at all they don’t want to use the bank accounts.

According to Bigirimana, the Judiciary has a bank account in the Bank of Uganda, and they use an interface, and when orders for refunds are made for people without bank accounts, he uses their database in the computer.

When this is done, Bigirimana noted that he authorizes Bank of Uganda to send it to Stanbic Bank with which they have a Memorandum of Understanding and it’s the one that sends the refund to people’s mobile money numbers which are supposed to be registered in the applicants real names.

An individual cannot send or receive more than seven million shillings in one day, according to information seen on different mobile money service providers.

However, when asked what the Judiciary will do for people without bank accounts but paid bail more than what is required in a single mobile money transaction, Bigirimana explained that they will keep depositing transactions on different dates until that person’s money has been refunded fully.

The Permanent Secretary explained though that the procedure for one to get a refund is that one has to apply for it in writing to the court he was bailed from with his or her full name, address and phone contact to whom bail was granted.

He added that the said phone number has to be registered in their names and documents such as an original bail bond form, receipt received from Court as well as an original Uganda Revenue Authority acknowledgement receipt where applicable have to be attached on the application.

According to Bigirimana, the court where the application is made shall then extract the court order for bail refund and the same shall be signed, sealed by the judicial officer and attached to the application. Then it is the cashier who prepares a requisition for refund with the said documents addressed to the Judiciary Permanent Secretary.

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