May 7, 2013

Prime Minister Snubs Justice Sector’s Budget Demands

The Justice, Law and Order sector was today left stranded after being snubbed by the Prime Minister and Finance Minister.

Appearing before the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee, JHLOS had come to plead their case and seek an increment from the paltry 3.5 billion shillings budgeted for the sector in the coming financial year 2013/2014.

Finance Minister Maria Kiwanuka
Finance Minister Maria Kiwanuka

The chairperson of the committee Steven Tashobya noted that the sector’s budget has had a steady downward decrement from 35 billion in the financial year 2010/2011. In the current budget it has been proposed to give the sector 3.5 billion as their non-wage bill which amount is not enough to pay water, rent and electricity bills for the ministry.

It was also noted that 247 million shillings has been allocated to prosecute and defend cases both within and outside the country. This means each case including transport for state attorneys, meals, witnesses and all other expenses will cost 35,000 shillings.

The arrears, compensation and court awards stand at the tune of 254 billion shillings yet only four billion has been provided. This means that without interest, it will take government sixty years to pay the arrears.

Tashobya is worried that at this rate in case of a court case lost, government would instead pay seven trillion shillings.

However, both the Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi who is said to be out of the country and Maria Kiwanuka the Finance Minister failed to turn up. The committee was not impressed that Kiwanuka claimed to have received the invite yesterday yet it was sent last week and only sent a junior officer who would not answer the issues and queries raised.

Among other pending issues in the sector with the minister of Justice and constitutional affairs Kahinda Otafire to do with the appointment of the deputy IGG in order to make the institution fully operational which the Prime Minister was supposed to answer.

The committee also still had queries regarding the remuneration of judges and wanted to know the extent to which government had gone to enhance their salaries after the Presidential pledge yet there were no monies proposed in the 2013/2014 budget.

The committee has only two days to conclude its budget meetings before it forwards its recommendations to the executive. The committee then had to call a closed meeting for 20 minutes in which Fred Ruhindi the deputy attorney general and Peter Nyombi the attorney general attended.

However, Nyombi painted a grim picture of the various problems they are facing which includes rent yet there are plans to construct the JHLOS house. It currently costs the sector 20 billion shillings per annum in rent. Government had promised to contribute 5 billion each year towards the JHLOS house but there has been no allocation of money for the last two years and neither in the coming financial year.

Nyombi adds that even the 35,000 shillings allocated to handle cases is impossible since they have cases in Arusha Tanzania yet their vehicles do not have fuel.

Nyombi agreed the meeting be pushed to tomorrow at midday when the Prime Minister is expected to attend including a more senior officials from Finance.

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