Bailiffs decry poor cooperation from public institutions

Professional court bailiffs have decried the rampant delays they face when trying to get information from public institutions during the course of enforcing court orders.

They made the claim yesterday during a meeting in Kigali with members of the profession.

They claim that institutions, especially Rwanda Revenue Authority and the Land Office, are often too slow to give information on things like property ownership of losers in litigations.

In normal circumstances, take only three months to execute court judgments but due to lack of cooperation, they even end up taking a year,

“I don’t understand why RRA takes long to respond to our requests. You can ask for information and they (RRA) respond after a year,” said Godfrey Musoni, a court bailiff.

Ismail Uwimana, another bailiff working in Kigali city echoed similar sentiments. He said one of the main challenges bailiffs face as they execute their duties is poor cooperation from relevant institutions,

“For example, I have a vehicle for which I need to verify ownership, as part of the process of executing a court judgment concerning it. This process should take me three months, but I see it is taking more than that since RRA is not giving me the information. Let them help us so that we can finish our work in time,” he said.

According to bailiffs, such delays from those institutions put the bailiff’s credibility at stake, where society suspects them to have been bribed

“People think that we delay the processes deliberately because we have been bribed,” said another bailiff during the meeting their association had yesterday in Kigali.

Antoine Sebera Nyunga the President of the Professional Bailiffs Association said that the bailiffs are in the process of meeting relevant institutions to see how the issue can be solved.

“We will be meeting with RRA, police, and other institutions to see how we can make our work easier,” he said.

Martine Urujeni, the Head of Access to Justice Department in the Ministry of Justice said that the ministry will partner with the Association of the Bailiffs to approach relevant institutions so that the challenges will be removed.

She meanwhile said that there was need for bailiffs to extend their services to other parts of the country other than Kigali. Of the 499 bailiffs in the country, 239 are working in Kigali.

“More than half of the bailiffs in the country are working in Kigali. You find that when we go to other districts, there is a challenge that people don’t have enough bailiffs. We have advised the bailiffs to go to other parts of the country as well since the law gives them the power to deal with cases in the whole country,” she said

editor@newtimesrwanda.com