By Gloria Nakajubi
Government officials have been put on the spotlight as the lead cause of many lost court battles against their institution due to negligence.
While making a presentation on case management during a sensitization workshop for gov’t officials, Henry Kaweesa, Resident Judge Mbale, noted on many occasions accounting officers do not respond to court notices served to them.
“Lawyers are very sharp nowadays and take advantage of the fact that most officers are not well versed with court procedures. After making sure a notice is served, they sit back and start counting time and will promptly act when the deadline sets in,”said Kaweesa.
Kaweesa also highlighted poor record keeping as the other reason why gov’t always loses court cases as officers do not care to keep the minutes of meetings and any such documentation that can act as evidence in court.
He explained that the current judicial guidelines that stipulate dismissal of cases incase there has been no action taken for 2 years put gov’t at rather a disadvantage if accounting officers continue to just file notices.
Kaweesa advised the officers responsible to always keep track of witnesses as most times this has also led to case dismissals in court.
Cheborion Barishaki, Director Civil Litigation in the Attorney General's office, revealed that there is an outstanding amount of sh300bn in cases filed against government, whereas the cost in unresolved cases is over sh1trn.
“Civil servants need to be more cautious while carrying out their duties so as to reduce on the public debt, which money would have rather been invested in providing services,” said Barishaki.
In his presentation, Deputy IGG George Bamugemereire cautioned the civil servants on intergrity saying that in just the last six months, they have registered over 800 cases.
“If we can not be able to serve according to the public interest, the public will surely throw us out because we hold these offices in their trust,” said Bamugemereire.
He noted that their directorate intends to introduce an integrity test for all civil servants, which will be intended to weed out corrupt fellows and this will be done with the input of one’s colleagues.
“Say no to projects that are conceived, designed, and implemented just to reward a particular supplier who is deemed to be favourable to a key decision-maker in our local government,” Bamugemereire advised.
The one-day workshop organised by the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs and Justice Law and Orders(JLOs) was attended by chief administrative officers, town clerks , procurement officers and other local govt accounting officers.