Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Members of Parliament sitting on the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee have asked government to borrow up to 600 billion shillings to clear outstanding Court awards.
While meeting officials from the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs led by the Justice Minister Kahinda Otafiire, the legislators learnt that the ministry does not have a strategy to clear the outstanding Court awards arising from civil cases currently standing at a tune of 676 billion shillings.
This is after Otafiire told the committee that the ministry needs nine billion shillings every financial year to clear the bill.
The money accumulated over 10 years and this arises mainly from civil cases ruled in favour of people or entities and compensations awarded.
Committee chairperson, West Budama South MP Jacob Oboth Oboth, noted that government requires 74 years to clear the 676 billion shillings at a rate of nine billion shillings per year which is almost impossible.
He recommended that government should seek a loan and clear the huge figure of Court awards which is attracting interest and costly to the government.
Otafiire pleaded with parliament to devise means of helping government to punish errant government officers whose indiscipline and character has caused government financial loss.
Otafiire told the committee that the ministry’s main remedy to Court awards accumulation is to have more State Attorneys, judges, judicial officers and prosecutors whose inadequate number has been contributing to government loss of cases hence Court awards.
The committee members asked the ministry to provide a list of court awards that originate from all government agencies.
Solomon Muyita, the Judiciary spokesperson, says in some cases government breaches terms of contract and they are made to pay, while in others Court orders Government to pay.
He says awards from Uganda Human Rights Commission (UNHCR) for victims of human rights violations are also what contributes to the huge amounts.
“When Court awards someone, it takes long because Government has to pay this money in phases, and so you find someone going five to ten years without getting compensated. And the money Government releases to the Ministry is never enough,” says Muyita.