The National Public Prosecution Authority has been mandated to set up a unit charged with managing properties confiscated on court orders, a new ministerial decree says.
A cabinet meeting chaired by President Paul Kagame last week approved a series of ministerial orders, one of which being the ‘ministerial order determining the modalities for administration of confiscated properties’.
Announcing the decree at press a briefing, Justice Minister Johnston Busingye said the new decree, which will come in force after being published in the Official Gazette, seeks to ensure that confiscated properties are properly managed.
“There are times when you find confiscated vehicles or other properties rotting at police stations without proper management, and by the time the owner wins a court case and reclaim their property, it is already damaged,” he said.
“The unit entrusted with the management of seized and confiscated assets operating in the National Public Prosecution Authority (NPPA) shall be the only organ in the whole country in charge of the daily management of confiscated property,” reads article 3 of the order.
A court Registrar shall forward the property to the NPPA or Military Prosecution in their areas of jurisdiction, which shall forward it to the unit in charge of its management.
The order instructs prosecution offices, both public and military, to establish in their jurisdictions warehouses for confiscated movable property and appoint a person in charge of its management. The property shall remain in the stores until the court renders its decision.
According to article 7 of the order, “movable perishable or movable property whose storage is expensive and non-perishable confiscated property for daily usage shall be auctioned. Any money obtained from the management of such property shall be deposited on a specific account of Rwanda Revenue Authority until a final judgment is made.
According to Busingye, in case an item is to be auctioned, the owner will have to be involved in determining the actual value.
Although no exact figures of the confiscated properties are available, the majority include land, houses, and vehicles, among others.
The Inspector General of NPPA, Jules-Marius Ntete, said measures were underway to ensure the instructions set forth by the decree are thoroughly followed.
The decree also indicates that if a court decides in the end that the confiscated property is not proceeds from crime, such property shall be returned to the owner or the owner shall be refunded the amount of the rent or the sell in a period not exceeding seven (7) days from the court decision.