Thorough reviews of cases reported to the Ombudsman’s Office between 2017 and 2018 regarding complaints of unfair court rulings indicate that 5.9 percent were legitimate, to members of both chambers of parliament heard on Friday.
Delivering the 2017/2018 annual activity report, the Ombudsman, AnastaseMurekezi told the lawmakers that due to understaffing issues, his office had received support from the Ministry of Justice and the national police to dissect each case and make decisions.
“It doesn’t matter how big the number of cases is. Each case is given special attention so that we can come up with a conclusion regarding the next step. What we realized is that there is consistency in wrongful and unfair rulings and it is worrying,” he said.
Murekezi told the lawmakers that between 2017 and 2018, his office had received 2,493 cases requiring intervention and 1,116 of these had been received while in the field, while 429 had been filed in written form. Of the written requests, 267 of these were filed by men and 162 by women.
Of these, land issues stand at 31.7 percent, delay in execution of court rulings at 31.2 percent, expropriation issues at 11.2 percent, labor and poverty issues at 4 percent each.
Murekezi informed the lawmakers that in their field work done in all sectors and districts, his office had discovered that some leaders did not give the local issues the attention that they deserved, with some of them even harassing those who come to seek their help.
“When we visit these areas, leaders tell us how the issues that we had left the last time had been fixed but when we go down to the grassroots, we find a different story. The issues are very many and these local leaders don’t engage those seeking their help. In fact, some of them get the locals arrested for insisting,” he said.
Murekezi pointed out that wealth declaration had been done by 1,655 civil servants and only 9 could not justify the source of their assets.
“What this means is that failure to declare the source of your assets requires a caveat to be put on your property and for you to be subjected to a thorough investigations. We continue to have people hiding assets and we are yet to have a successful story regarding that,” he said.
MP Jean Damascene Murara appealed to the Ombudsman to do better and go after the ‘big fish’ in the fight against corruption.
“We only hear of farmers, drivers, motocycle taxi operators and the ‘biggest person’ on the list is a Mayor. We have people who were mentioned by the Public Accounts Committee, we have those mentioned by the Auditor General’s Office. Where are they?” he wondered.
MP Christine Mukabunani asked the Auditor General to look into issues of Mutuelle, something that she said is long overdue.
“I have heard you say that the issues in medical insurance are now fixed but there is still an issue. How can someone say that they have insurance when they are being charged 100 per cent when they go to a pharmacy to buy medicine?” she said.