In a bid to make bidding and auctioning of property of loan defaulters more transparent, the Ministry of Justice and Rwanda Development Board (RDB) on Wednesday launched a digital bidding platform that is aimed at making the enforcement of orders more efficient and devoid of malpractices.
The launch of the platform accessible at https://cyamunara.gov.rw/auction/ will be a huge relief to property owners who over the years lamented about ‘dirty practices’ by court bailiffs and bidders who used to connive to under-price properties, leading to losses for the banks and owners.
The Minister of Justice and Attorney General Johnston Busingye said the electronic platforms will reduce the processes involved in the enforcement of orders and curtail malpractices occasioned by human interaction.
The Government further said the platform will make it possible for potential bidders outside the country to participate in the auction exercise. Busingye said the platform will be a long-term solution to the challenges faced in the execution of enforcement orders.
“Going forward property auctions from court orders and mortgage foreclosures will be done on this platform. Bidders will bid online from anywhere until a winner is declared,” Busingye said
“I would like to commend RDB and other partners for working closely with the Ministry of Justice to effect change in the execution of enforcement orders, from a manual to an electronic system that is in line with the Government’s vision of digitalizing all its services,” he said.
Clare Akamanzi, the Chief Executive Officer of RDB, said that over the last 10 years, Rwanda has implemented focused reforms aimed at improving the doing business environment for the private sector to thrive.
“Private sector contribution to the economic development of Rwanda is primary. We cannot talk about development without developing the private sector; activities such as this help the private sector to thrive in our economy,” Akamanzi said.
“The net outcome of the electronic system is to improve the quality of auctions and recovery rate. We hope that this system will help banks and the private sector in general to thrive,” the RDB head said.
According to RDB, the new Registrar General instructions on Management, Lease, Auction, and Take-over of mortgages, in addition to electronic auctioning of collateral, also provide for a bid deposit to ensure that only genuine bidders participate in the auction.
The instructions also provide for a possibility for the property owner to object to the price if it is less than 75% at the first and second rounds of auction.
How the system will work
The platform will also expedite processes and cut out delays and red tape which some times could go up to 3 years as banks and defaulters face off in courts.
The new system will ensure that banks auction off properties when owners fail to pay, with the clearance of the Registrar General at RDB without going to court while bidders can view the property online and make their offer.
All bidders who intend to be part of the auction will register in the system to show their interest and give a 5% guarantee as down payment to show their commitment, to avoid people who undervalue properties with the intention of frustrating the auction.
Successful bidders, once selected, pay the remaining amount while unsuccessful bidders will have their money refunded in 3 days.
On the auction day, offers will be open six hours in advance, and the auctioneer will also be asking subscribers to raise the price so that the product can be offered at the highest price.
Under the new system the number of times a property can be auctioned if the value offered was less than 75%, was reduced from five to three.
Busingye said the digital channels will completely replaces the traditional process of concluding cases and auctioning of collateral, saying that it will eliminate all corrupt practices.
“Those who want to go through other channels, those tamper with the value of property or strongly oppose the valuation process should know that we will not get tired of fighting these bad practices. Cultures. The more they try to circumvent these processes, the more innovative we get,”
“We want to do business in a manner that is characterized by transparency and justice. Those who feel that they can default on their obligation with the bank yet they took loans should be aware that the cost of that will be high,” Busingye said.
Fast track Court Decisions
As part of the process to digitize services and minimise bureaucracy, the government has also digitized Judgement Execution, another judicial service which has been littered with malpractices.
Judgement execution has been placed under the Rwanda Integrated Electronic Case Management System (IECMS) in a bid to eliminate situations where court bailiffs connive with people to frustrate processes to implement court decisions.
According to Martine Urujeni, the Head of Access to Justice Services Department at MINIJUST, court bailiffs would normally be bribed by property owners to delay the process of transferring properties or even the auction itself while in other cases they connive with the valuers to undervalue properties to discourage sellers and bidders.
Urujeni said that with the new digital system, all concerned parties, from Prosecution, Courts, the Ombudsman, Rwanda Bar Association and the Ministry will be able to track processes digitally so that people don’t connive to undervalue property or deliberately delay judgement execution.
“We have been facing different issues in regard to finalizing cases with many issues coming up, sometimes leading to more cases, derailing judicial processes for year but with this technology, this will not happen again. All concerned parties will be involved and they will be able to monitor the process,” Urujeni said.
The digital platform was put in place by a Ministerial Order issue in May this year which approved the process to digitize judgement execution under IECMS. All parties concerned will have access to the process.
However, there are more than 2,300 cases that had already begun which will be finalized manually with bailiff and the litigants meeting physically while all the new cases will be moved to IECMS.
According to Busingye, Rwanda currently has 520 professional court bailiffs at the national level and an extra 2,566 non-professional bailiffs at the cell, sector and district level who will all have to be using the platform to go about their work.