The State Minister for Constitutional and Legal Affairs has called on private notaries to adhere to the ethics that guide their profession or resign.
Speaking at a meeting that brought together the notaries and the Ministry of Justice, yesterday, Evode Uwizeyimana said that it was a duty of every notary to call out their colleagues whose malpractices continue to tarnish the profession.
“Before you are notaries, you are lawyers. Lawyers have a lot on their shoulders in terms of what is expected of them. Worldwide, all systems are built on the foundation of the law. If you cannot do what is required, feel free to tender in your resignation,” he said.
He reminded them that they have to be accountable and encouraged them to cultivate public trust.
“The process of learning never ends. Build unity amongst yourselves, ask questions, learn more and try to make your thirst for knowledge global. Ask yourself if you are ready to be held accountable because independence without accountability is nothing,” he said.
He said government should be commended for bringing such services closer to the people.
“Getting the notary to sign for you was a hassle in the past. It required one to stand in a queue for long and you had to travel to Kigali but things have changed and people can access notary services without leaving their sector. This is something that we should be happy about,” he said.
Among the 74 independent notaries countrywide, only 33 have known working addresses, 32 have submitted activity reports and only 16 have known TIN numbers, he said.
Christine Umurerwa, a notary reminded her colleagues of what is required for one to be a notary in Rwanda.
“You must be Rwandan, you must hold a degree in law, you must not have been incarcerated for more than six months, you must not have been relieved of your duties due to misconduct, and you must have work experience of more than five years,” she explained.
Some 911 notaries work for government. Of these, 832 work in the sector level of administration, 160 at the district level; three at the Ministry of Justice; two at Rwanda Development Board; three at Rwanda Governance Board; and ten in land related issues.