Pius Bigirimana brings in Tough conditions and rules in the judicial department

Pius Bigirimana

The recently appointed permanent secretary of the Judiciary, Pius Bigirimana, has issued new tough guidelines for judicial officers and support staff.

President Yoweri Museveni transferred Bigirimana from the gender ministry late last month. He replaced Kagole Kivumbi, who was sent on forced leave.

The guidelines bar judicial officers on transfer from moving with the vehicles they have been using at their previous stations.

“All facilities including motor vehicles, computers, and furniture, among others, shall be left at a particular work station by a particular judicial officer on transfer,” Bigirimana states in a memo dated August 19.

Many of the guidelines, however, exclude judges and justices of the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. Bigirimana says judicial officers on transfer will have to use facilities available at the new work station. He says the new guidelines are intended to improve, among others, financial discipline.

Under the new guidelines, no Judiciary staff is supposed to be out of the station without permission from their immediate supervisor. The new guidelines also require the Judiciary staff to be in the office from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

“The biometric data installed at courts must be used by all staff as a monitoring device for attendance, absenteeism, late coming and early departure from work,” Bigirimana said.

Transfers In the latest development, judicial officers and support staff will now be transferred and regulated by the commissioner for human resource management, in consultation with the Chief Registrar of the Courts of Judicature.

 Taking leave

Bigirimana has ordered the heads of departments in the judiciary to come up with leave rota to ensure that senior officers do not take leave at the same time.

“No member of staff will take leave without handing over the official vehicle attached to their respective offices, apart from Justices of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal, judges, the permanent secretary, and chief registrar,” he said.

Accountability for court sessions

He has also instructed the presiding judges for court sessions, particularly in criminal matters, to verify cause lists made by the registrars immediately after the session has ended. Also, witnesses summoned by the court have to sign in an attendance book, reflecting their places of residence and telephone numbers.

Staff will not receive new advance before making accountability for the previous funds. In regard to payment, Bigirimana says no payment will be made without supporting local purchase orders signed by the accounting officer.

Parking of vehicles

Bigirimana has also banned parking of government vehicles in alternative places without permission.

Training

In regard to staff training, Bigirimana says it will only be approved by the training committee.

Travels

Also, travels by judiciary staff have to be cleared by the permanent secretary, apart from judicial officers who are approved by the Chief Justice.

Bigirimana says staff sponsored by the Judiciary have to account for the funds on return, with reports, tickets, and boarding pass.

Upcountry trips

Any staff on official travel upcountry on weekends or public holidays has to be cleared by the permanent secretary.

Procurement plans

Also, heads of departments are required to submit their work plans for the coming year, before the end of May of the financial year.

Cash advances

In regard to Judiciary workshops, Bigirimana has banned cash payments, noting that payment will be made directly to the proprietors of the venues at 75% deposit and the 25% will be paid to them at the end of the function