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Judiciary stuck with UGX 24bn bail money

FILE PHOTO: Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has learnt that the Judiciary is stuck with 24 billion Shillings bail cash.

The money has been accumulating over the past years with an average of 5 billion shillings deposited every year on the judiciary’s bank account in Bank of Uganda.

The Institution’s Permanent Secretary Kagole Kivumbi made the revelation on Wednesday to the committee chaired by Budadiri West MP Nathan Nandala Mafabi. Kagole was responding to audit queries raised in the Auditor General’s report for June 2018.

Kivumbi said that due to the requirement for claimants to produce a receipt for payment, most of them do not claim the bail money after winning cases in courts. He also blamed ignorance of litigants in regard to their rights on bail money and the experience they go through while in court and prison.

MPs were told that the accumulated money does not attract interest and that for one to get access to their money, they need to secure a court order with instructions for money to be paid into their accounts.

Bail for an accused person according to the Constitution is a fundamental right with the suspect presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Kagole’s revelation followed a query raised by Bunyole West MP James Waluswaka who questioned why litigants find it hard to access their money from court after being acquitted.

Adjumani Woman MP Jessica Ababiku wondered why the Judiciary has not taken steps to ensure that the public is sensitized about the availability of the money. She also called for a review of the procedure to access the bail money by litigants.

Kwania County MP Tony Ayo said that the Judiciary should pick interest and start public awareness.

Mafabi cited the need for the bail money procedure to be reviewed to have litigants automatically access their bail money once their cases are disposed off.

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