Judiciary apologises to court users

Chigona: Funding was problem
Chigona: Funding was problem

The Judiciary has apologised to users of Midima Magistrate’s Court in Blantyre after about six months of dry taps at the court after Blantyre Water Board (BWB) disconnected water supply because of a K93 140 bill.

However, after The Nation inquiry last week following complaints from some members of staff and court users, the Judiciary management moved in quickly to settle the bill which led to the reconnection on Monday.

High Court spokesperson Joseph Chigona said the issue of disconnected water supply was reported in May, but that due to inadequate funding of K671 206 in May and K486 980 in June for the Southern Region, it was not possible to settle the bill.

Said Chigona: “During these months, priority of ORT funds was on stationery and fuel. On a good note, I should report to you that we have allocated funds from July, 2014 ORT funding to settle this bill amounting to K93 140.”

Chigona also blamed the delay in the settlement of the bill to logistical arrangements since Midima Magistrate’s Court does not make its bills available in good time.

“Had it been they bring bills in good time, we are much certain such embarrassments were avoidable as we could easily try other avenues to pay the bills. With this we should bear the blame because of our own negligence. Let us also take this opportunity to apologise to our court users for the inconveniences they have undergone during these months,” he said.

BWB public affairs officer Priscilla Mateyu said customers who have no money to immediately settle the bill have a chance to negotiate a debt, rescheduling programme to settle the amount in instalments.

Said Mateyu: “Before disconnecting any customer, we do alert them on the status of their account. Any bill that stays unpaid more than 30 days is due for disconnection regardless of whether its a public facility or not.”

According to members of staff, the working environment has become pathetic as members of staff and the court users have been utilising the forest across the road to relieve themselves.

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