February 15, 2019

Justice Minister Threatens to Close Association of Court Bailiffs

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If a grouping comprising court bailiffs does not stop engaging in corrupt practices and facilitating injustice, the operations of the whole association will be halted, Justice Minister and Attorney General Johnston Busingye warned Friday.

Busingye told a seminar for ‘association of professional bailiff’ that they have to ensure malpractices involving their members end or else he will phase it out and start the process of launching a new one.  

The Minister cited a case where bailiffs were reported by beer brewer SKOL after it had given them money.

“…When we called them, they escaped to neighboring countries,” said Busingye. “We will not tolerate such behaviors. If you don’t clean up the association, I assure you even if it is only 10% of you engaged in malpractices, we will close your association and open another one that is able to dispense justice and serve the country.” 

Data from the justice ministry shows there are slightly over 500 professionally trained bailiffs covering the whole country. Court bailiffs have faced allegations of abusing their power.

There have been reported cases where families have been thrown out of their homes by bailiffs – only to be determined later that due process was not followed.   

In the last three years, some 27 bailiffs have been expelled from the association over a range of cases.

Me. Vedaste Habimana, head of the association for his part said they will continue to clean up the profession to eliminate the bad performers.

Busingye said there was no doubt that bailiffs play a crucial role to bring justice to society.   

He added: “I acknowledge your work. I believe that if you end those unprofessional behaviors, the future of the association and justice in Rwanda is bright.”

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