The Government has auctioned properties of at least 18 people and recouped a total of Rwf361 million from cases that it won in the last two years, The New Times can exclusively report.
The money is part of the Rwf1.3bn that the government is owed from litigations it won between June 2018 and 2020.
Explaining the discrepancy between what is owned and what has so far been recovered, the Minister for Justice Johnston Busingye said that the Government was only able to auction off the properties that debtors owned.
"What happens is that we sell the property and, in most cases, only recover a certain amount. It becomes a little more complicated after this because we have to keep track of the debtor until their debt is completely paid off," he said.
As part of follow up, government has introduced a system where state-offered services are denied to those who owe government money, until the debt is fully paid up.
Busingye said that the new system, that is linked to all essential government services, has already frustrated many people who owe government money and forced them to negotiate payment terms.
"We have those who come to us without necessarily being pursued because they are being frustrated by the system. What happens is that they are reminded or blocked from services when they are, for instance, pursuing particular documents or travelling," he said.
Busingye said that the government is currently working with a group of about 40 professional bailiffs who have helped expedite the payments from debtors.
Court bailiffs are responsible for executing judgements pronounced by courts and earn a commission of five per cent of the sum of execution or Rwf300,000 when the execution is not in monetary terms.
He explained that currently the government was dealing with Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA), the Rwanda Land Management and Use Authority (RLMA), Credit Reference Bureau (CRB), Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) and the National ID Agency (NIDA) in ensuring that the debtors are encouraged to pay whenever they approach these institutions for any service.
Speaking to The New Times, MP John Ruku-Rwabyoma said that using bailiffs to collect the money owed to the government would be more efficient if they used private companies specifically trained in collecting debt.
"The issue we have been having for years is our failure to recruit private firms to track down the debtors. They have not left the country. They are here and some are probably hiding property. A private firm assured of a particular percentage of the recovered money would do a faster and more thorough recovery job," he said.