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Home / NEWS / Unpaid court awards finally fall below UGX400BN – Audit Report

Unpaid court awards finally fall below UGX400BN – Audit Report

Auditor General John Muwanga.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT |  Amidst all the damning findings by the Auditor General John Muwanga, there is something positive to report albeit with a warning;  the outstanding amount in court awards and compensation has after several years fallen below 400 billion Shillings, currently standing at 392.4 billion Shillings.

The Auditor General has cautioned against delayed settlement as the accumulation of the principal amount ends up attracting more in interest/penalties.

The awards started accumulating out of control since June 2012,  but some decline has been recorded in the last three to two years, according to the audit report presented by Muwanga to Speaker Rebecca Kadaga on Thursday.

In June 2018, the Auditor General reported outstanding court awards and compensations totaling 655.1 billion and this decreased to 550.2 billion in his June 2019 report. In the new report accessed by Uganda Radio Network- URN, Muwanga now says that the outstanding amount is 392.4 billion.

“Delayed settlement of the court awards and compensation obligations have resulted in government accumulating interest of 185.3 billion on the principal amounts, penalties and damages,” says the Auditor General.

Muwanga reveals that the unpaid court awards, compensations and other domestic arrears were attributed to the insufficient budget provision made by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.

The Auditor General cites a need for the Ministry of Finance to ensure sufficient budget provisions to cater for settlement of outstanding arrears and to strictly adhere to the Government commitment control system to avoid the risk of over-committing Government.

The issue of increasing court awards has been a matter of discussion for the past years and in a recent meeting by the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, Members of Parliament appealed for solutions to the growing figure as well as bail fees and costs of the suits in courts.

The MPs were interfacing with officials from Judiciary on the Constitutional Amendment Bill presented by Jinja Municipality East, Paul Mwiru.

Bugiri Municipality MP, Asuman Basalirwa described the process of accessing court awards as cumbersome.

Basalirwa also raised concern with bail fees saying that there are inconsistencies especially among political cases.

“People are giving bail of 1 million Shillings and what is the case, inciting violence,” Basalirwa added. “Does it concern you that there are these disparities even when a student has appeared before you for demonstrating, you ask for 1 million as bail when you know he is a student who is just agitating for their rights?”

Sarah Langa, the Chief Registrar of Court then told the Committee that there are reforms underway within the Judiciary to standardize costs so as to harmonize the process.

 

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URN

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