Rwanda: Stronger Partnerships Boost Recovery of Funds Owed to Govt

The Ministry of Justice has said that partnerships with multiple institutions have helped recover millions owed to Government.

The New Times has learnt the ministry managed to recover 13.7 percent or Rwf303.1 million out of Rwf2.2 billion it had targeted to recover in the last fiscal year.

Emile Ntwali, the Director-General in charge of Legal Advisory Services at the ministry, told The New Times that 819 people who owe the Government money are being pursued.

Since 2019, the Justice Ministry put in place measures that include closer collaboration with institutions that include banks, the Tax body, and the Land Authority to track down the debtors.

Most of the money owed to the Government is from cases lost and the Court issues orders for payment to be made to the public coffers.

For this fiscal year, the goal is to collect Rwf1.8 billion.

"The low recovery of the funds [last year] was mainly caused by the disruption of the Covid-19 pandemic and upgrading of the IECMS system used by courts in the judiciary process," Ntwali said.

IECMS is the Integrated Electronic Court Management System.

Ntwali added that another reason for the slow recovery is that some of the debtors declare that they have no financial capacity to repay.

The debts currently being collected are from cases lost between 2013 to 2019.

The government is also drafting a law governing the pursuit of civil servants that cause loss of public funds.

The ministry has been working with different institutions to fast-track the recovery of funds owed to the government.

These, he said, include National Identification Agency, Rwanda Land Management and Use Authority (RLMUA),Rwanda Revenue Authority, Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB), Rwanda Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration, TransUnion Rwanda and banks, Rwanda National Police and professional bailiff association among others.

"These institutions offer services to people who embezzled the money and some know where they are located, information about their properties both-immovable and movable.

For instance, banks will help tell their clients to first pay money owed to the government to ensure trust in them before accessing bank services," he explained.

Ntwali added that having realized that people-who owe money to government have no immovable or movable properties that can be sold, the ministry is working with RSSB to check if they have employment/jobs that can help government recover the funds they embezzled.

"We share the list [debtors] with different institutions to help investigate if they really have no properties. We also work with revenue authority to see if these people have businesses or other income generating activities we can sell and recover the public funds," Ntwali said.

He added that the districts also integrated courts judgments execution in their performance contracts and agreements have been signed with professional bailiffs.

"There are 68 bailiffs with contracts to execute 345 case judgments worth Rwf6 billion. More than 35 bailiffs will get contracts soon so that they help to recover the funds," he noted.

Among the recommendations from the 17th National Leadership Retreat was to "investigate and prosecute cases of corruption and institute a recovery mechanism for embezzled public funds."

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