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Govt fails to recover 400 court penalties

By Vision Reporter

Added 12th August 2008 03:00 AM

THE Government is yet to recover over sh396b from court litigants since September 2003, Parliament heard yesterday.

THE Government is yet to recover over sh396b from court litigants since September 2003, Parliament heard yesterday.

By Mary Karugaba

THE Government is yet to recover over sh396b from court litigants since September 2003, Parliament heard yesterday.

Ernest Bafaki, the undersecretary in the Ministry of Justice, told MPs on the public accounts committee that out of sh396b won by the Government in court cases, only sh26m had been recovered from three cases.

He said recovery of funds from losers was difficult because most of them had vanished.

“For many litigants, once they lose a case against the Government, they vanish and it is not easy to locate them for the purpose of recovery,” Bafaki said.

He was appearing before the committee to answer queries raised in the Auditor General’s report for the financial years 2003 to 2006. The members were also surprised to learn that even the litigants’ lawyers had lost their contacts.

“These private lawyers may be intentionally doing so,” remarked committee chairman Nandala Mafabi (FDC).

“When they win, they make sure that the Government pays them but when it’s them to pay, they lose their clients’ contacts.”

Asked by MP Ssebuliba Mutumba (DP) how much the Government had lost in court cases, Bafaki put the figure at about sh26b.

“It is surprising that you are vigorously paying for cases that you lost to individuals but taking years to make them pay you. What is the rationale? Are you colluding with them?” Ssebuliba charged.

According to Bafaki, a list of compensation claimants of cases the Government lost will soon be worked out and given to resident district commissioners and chief administrative officers for processing. He said most of the claimants are from the north and east and from Luwero district.

There was disagreement on whether the Administrator General’s office should also publish the names of individuals who had not claimed their balances.

Although the MPs argued that the list would enable beneficiaries claim their money, the officials said it would only “open the flood gates for fraudsters”.

Govt fails to recover 400 court penalties

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