EDITORIAL: Banks need to give Genocide survivors their due

It has been a hard road to travel for Genocide survivors seeking access to their dead relatives’ assets. Most of those affected were still minors at the time of the Genocide and had scarce information on the extent of their parents’ possessions.

It has been a hard road to travel for Genocide survivors seeking access to their dead relatives’ assets. Most of those affected were still minors at the time of the Genocide and had scarce information on the extent of their parents’ possessions.

Others were fleeced by their surviving relatives who took advantage of their innocence and cheated them out of their inheritance. The latter has slowly been resolved as the children come of age or get help from neighbours in identifying property.

But it is inconceivable that more than two decades down the road, banks have been sitting on Genocide victims’ accounts and failed to hand them over to the legitimate inheritors, sometimes giving flimsy reasons.

If banks were quick to reclaim loans left behind by dead relatives, most of the time attaching collateral and auctioning them to recoup their money, why are they dragging their feet when it comes to paying out what does not belong to them? Does it really need over 20 years for banks to solve the issue?

It is a welcome development that the government has decided to step in and promised to find a lasting solution and see that justice is done.

If it comes to light that the delay in releasing the accounts was deliberate, then banks should be called to account and dealt with firmly. Definitely the money in the accounts – however little ­– was not sitting idle but was traded. Adjustments should therefore be made to calculate the interest accrued over the years, and if necessary, a fair compensation should be paid.