The Ministry Justice plans to table a new Bill in Parliament on recovery of public debts, which, according to officials, will make it extremely expensive for debtors to ignore payment in due time.
This was announced shortly after the ministry issued a communiqué asking people who lost cases against Government to speed up payment before stiffer measures are employed to enforce judgement executions.
According to the statement, released last week, 332 people, including those who have partly paid their dues, were called to clear their debts before Government seeks assistance of court bailiffs, which might call for more sanctions.
At least Rwf1.2 billion is yet to be recovered. The money has accumulated since 2007.
According to Theophile Mbonera, a principal state attorney in charge of legal services at the ministry, about Rwf230 million has so far been recovered.
“The total debts figure amounts to Rwf1,226,815,131 inclusive of recovered amount totaling Rwf238,000,562, which was paid after Government carried out execution of judgements that has seen some concluded,” Mbonera told The New Times yesterday.
Justice minister Johnston Busingye told The New Times that while there is no set deadline in place for the defaulters to have paid back, the ministry had started to engage court bailiffs on quick measures to recover the money before a bill compelling debtors to pay in time is submitted before the parliament.
“These debts were ordered by courts and we are telling the involved people to pay as soon as possible to avoid harsh sanctions that might come later should Government start to apply the rule of law,” he said.
Minister Busingye added that while they have been reluctant to pay the money that should support National Budget on development projects, if the envisaged Bill is enacted into law, these public debts will be turned into non-tax revenues and might call for more drastic recovery means.
“We want to make it extremely expensive for debtors to keep public money longer. The sanctions might see the involved people being barred from a number of services, from banking, social securities, social welfare services, etc,” Busingye said.
“The law would allow us to create our own credit reference bureau, where indebted individuals looking, for example, for a driver’s licence or who want to send children to school will be told that inquired services cannot be completed over pending debts.”