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Govt to pay Rwf1 billion in civil servant litigations

Agnès Kayijire, the Vice President of the Public Service Commission (PSC) Committee of Commissioners, addresses members of both chambers of Parliament on October 26. According to members of PSC, 24 government institutions were dragged to court by some 171 civil servants over unfair dismissal among other employment disputes. / Photo: Courtesy.

The Government is expected to part with Rwf948 million to 105 civil servants after it was dragged to court largely due to unfair dismissals, a report by the Public Service Commission (PSC) has revealed.

The loss stems from cases revolving around dismissal of permanent staff, termination of contracts and failure to pay compensation on time, which may demonstrate weaknesses in dealing with labour disputes within public institutions.

 

Presenting the commission’s 2019/2020 activity report to members of both chambers of Parliament on Monday, the Vice President of the PSC Committee of Commissioners Agnès Kayijire said that up to 24 government institutions and entities were taken to court 171 civil servants.

 

From these, 105 cases were won by the complainants and the government only won 16 cases.

 

Members of both chambers of Parliament follow the presentation of the report on Monday, October 26. Photo: Courtesy.

“The cases that we mostly found during our review were those stemming from errors in processes especially with individuals who were not basing their decisions on the law which in the end cost their institutions such problems,” she said.

The institutions that were taken to court include the Water and Sanitation Corporation (WASAC), Rwanda Electricity Group (REG), Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA), National Bank of Rwanda (BNR), Rwanda Correctional Services (RCS), Workforce Development Agency (WDA) and Rwanda Transport Development Agency (RTDA).

Others are University of Rwanda and Kibagabaga Hospital.

Three ministries; trade and industry, health and public service and labour were also among those taken to court by former employees.

The rest are districts; Nyarugenge, Gasabo, Karongi, Nyamasheke, Rubavu, Nyagatare, Gatsibo, Gicumbi, Musanze, Nyamagabe and Muhanga.

Kayijire explained that of the Rwf948 million, a total of Rwf763 million was allocated to what was rightfully owed the plaintiffs as stipulated by the law even if they had not gone to court.

“The Rwf763m is money that should have been paid had the law been followed but besides this, the rest of the money amounting to Rwf185m will go to penalties, lawyer and court fees,” she said.

Recurring issue

The issue of the government losing money pertaining to litigation is not a new one. In its 2017/2018 report the public service commission indicated that the government had lost cases and was ordered to pay Rwf530m.

Before that, in its 2017/2018 report, the commission had indicated a loss of only Rwf224m, which indicates a fast rise since then.

WASAC and REG continue to be mentioned in these reports every year with the two utility agencies combined being ordered to pay Rwf744m of the total money mentioned in this year’s report.

Kayijire explained that some of this money stems from the cases that arose from the institutions called EWSA/RECO-RWASCO, which preceded the current

Name and shame

MP Theoneste Safari Begumisa requested that the individuals who continue to break the law and cost the government money in such cases should be named in the report and should pay back the money lost.

“We need to hold these people accountable. They should pay back this money as individuals. This is the best way to mitigate what we now see as a rise in these civil servant litigations,” he said.

MP Deogratias Minani Bizimana said that there was need to look into the reasons why these cases continue to rise.

“When you compare the Rwf530m in the last report to the Rwf948m this year, you can clearly tell that there is a problem somewhere. We need to know how this amount came about and what plans are in place to fix this,” he said.

MP Gamariel Mbonimana wondered why the government should continue to shoulder the burden of errors made by individuals.

“Why should the government continue to make these pay-outs stemming from mistakes made by individuals who refuse to be guided by the laws in place? I don’t see why they should not be held accountable,” he wondered.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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