Justice Minister Johnston Busingye has called on bailiffs to maintain professionalism while enforcing judgments.
The minister was speaking to professional bailiffs at their general meeting in Kigali yesterday.
Several complaints have been raised against bailiffs that prompted the minister’s remarks, including illegal practices during auctioning of property, not submitting reports of their work or their challenges, which, according to the minister, are meant to help improve their work and reluctance to return dossiers or advanced wage to their clients.
“We receive reports of bailiffs auctioning property to pay costs to the winner but they do not give the balance to the losers,” Busingye said.
“They sometimes claim payment from the winners or from both sides, which is illegal because only the loser is supposed to pay. Others do not pay fines after badly executing judgements. We need your positive change and be fair in your profession.”
The chairperson of Bailiffs Federation, Vedaste Habimana, said plans were underway to release internal rules and elect executive secretary who will be coordinating all activities and reports.
He urged all members to have known addresses and insurance as required by the law.
The insurance helps in case they fail to pay fines for the judgment inappropriately executed.
The ministry also pledged continuous support by designing service cards for bailiffs.
Some bailiffs cited low salaries per each case, and reluctance by Police officers in executing judgments among their challenges.
“Some Police officers do not help us during the execution of judgements. In December, last year, I went to execute judgement on a land case where a man had won a case against a district but Police and other officials didn’t intervene,” said Ignace Gakwenzi, one of the bailiffs.
Modeste Mbabazi, the Police spokesperson for Kigali metropolitan, pledged more support.
Since its inception a year ago, the Professional Bailiffs’ Federation has 129 members and 94 who are about to take their oath.