Members of the parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Affairs in the Lower House are set to start investigations into how the Government lost Rwf224 million in civil servant lawsuits.
The probe is part of an exercise to evaluate the 2017/2018 annual report of the Public Service Commission (PSC), which started yesterday.
Although the amount of money government lost through lawsuits filed against its institutions by civil servants dropped from Rwf524 million in the last two previous years (2015 to 2017), both MPs and commissioners at the PSC say that more needs to be done to avoid mistakes that cause the losses.
MP Christine Muhongayire, the Chairperson of the committee, said some leaders of the institutions with reported flaws in the management of their staff will be summoned before the committee to explain how mistakes happened.
“We will act like PAC (Public Accounts Committee) for public servants because we saw that this report contains a lot,” she said yesterday as the MPs embarked on analysing the PSC report.
Muhongayire said that recommendations from their analysis will be handed over to Parliament, which will subsequently pass them to the Prime Minister.
She told The New Times in an interview that the losses captured in the PSC report reflect the mistakes that were done by different institutions.
“We will ask both institutions in question and MINIJUST (Ministry of Justice) to explain how the mistakes happened,” she said, adding that, “We will call for the law about recovery of lost public funds to be enforced so that these resources can be recovered.”
The bottom line, she said, is to prevent these losses in the future and also bring about more respect of labour laws to prevent more such lawsuits.
While appearing before the committee yesterday, the president of the Board of Commissioners of the PSC, François Habiyakare, said, in order to avoid similar mistakes in the future, government institutions ought to implement recommendations made by the commission.
“Failure to implement them (recommendations) comes with serious consequences,” he said.
The PSC reported that from final court rulings delivered between 2015 and 2017, some 43 institutions were sued by 147 people in 83 cases.
Of those cases, government won only 30 cases, which accounts for 36 per cent of the total lawsuits.
Habiyakare advised that legal advisors in different government institutions need to work closely with state attorneys to ensure that government doesn’t lose cases.
He also advised that prevention of lawsuits against the Government need to be made by making sure that managers who make mistakes are penalised if due diligence is to happen.
“In order to prevent mistakes, those who make them need to be punished,” he said.
Ministerial instructions issued by the Minister for Justice in October 2015 regarding modalities for holding to account public servants who cause loss to the State say that any civil servant that causes the government to lose money is required to pay it back.
There are growing calls among MPs for enforcing the directives to recover the money that the Government lost in different civil servant lawsuits.