Judiciary stuck with over Shs26b bail cash
What you need to know:
- Cash bail is used as a guarantee that a suspect in a criminal matter will return for a trial. The same money is returned to that person at the end of the trial whether it ends up in an acquittal or conviction unless court orders that it is forfeited to government.
The Judiciary has said they are stuck with more than Shs26b bail refund money, which has not been picked by court users who have gone through the criminal justice system. Addressing journalists in Kampala yesterday, the Chief Registrar of Courts of Judicature, Ms Sarah Langa Siu, called upon those who are entitled to recover their bail refund money to do so.
“As of June 30, 2021, the balance carried forward in both unclaimed bail deposits and security deposits from the Judiciary was more than Shs26b. You can imagine the whole Shs26b is lying in an account by those who have used judicial services,” Ms Langa said at the Judiciary headquarters.
“The purpose of this briefing is to sensitise the general public on the issue of bail refunds in the Judiciary and also remind all court users who have never recovered bail money, to which they are entitled to, that they should apply to courts that granted them bail for their refunds to be initiated,” she added.
The Chief Registrar explained that most of the court users haven’t picked their bail refund money due to, among others, ignorance of the procedure for recovery, fear of being rearrested and loss of original bail bond forms.
To that effect, Ms Langa urged the public to maintain safe custody of original documents as evidence for payment of bail monies.
“As long as all the necessary documentation is in order, bail refund should take seven days from the time the application is lodged at the office of the permanent secretary to the Judiciary. In the event that there are queries to the documents filed, the refund may take a little longer, like 15 days,” she explained.
Cash bail is used as a guarantee that a suspect in a criminal matter will return for a trial. The same money is returned to that person at the end of the trial whether it ends up in an acquittal or conviction unless court orders that it is forfeited to government.
The Chief Registrar also warned that the Judiciary will not be held liable and won’t refund any bail money if it is not paid into their bank account or if payments are made to any other staff and middlemen.
She said such money is considered a bribe and is non-refundable.
“I urge the members of the public not to give bail money to court clerks, it’s not the role of the court to receive bail cash. We also appeal to the public to pay only the amount told to them in open court. So don’t pay money that hasn’t been pronounced by a judicial officer,” she warned.
Speaking at the same event, the Registrar of the High Court, Mr Samuel Emokor, explained that bail money is not government revenue, the reason it is not sent to the Consolidated Fund but on the Judiciary bank account.
“Since it’s not government revenue, if someone passes on, the estate of the deceased person has a right to apply for this money to be paid to the estate of the deceased, which means the holder of the letters of administration can apply to the court for refund of the bail money,” Mr Emokor said.
-Apply in writing to the court that granted you bail.
-Include full name, address and phone contact, bank account details, the bank account should be held in your name.
-Attach to the application an original bail bond form received from court, the original general receipt that was issued by court, original URA acknowledgement receipt and wait for at least seven days to get your refund.
Source: Daily Monitor