Administration of Estate Act review ongoing
09 Mar 2023
Estate Act is currently ongoing to introduce shortened processes for distribution of small funds.
This was said by Minister of Justice, Mr Machana Shamukuni when he was responding to a parliamentary question on Wednesday. Mr Shamukuni said a deputy master was recently appointed and was hopeful that such manpower would assist in reducing the workload per master as well as fast-track some of the payments which would otherwise had to wait long for assessment.
Acknowledging delays in payment out of the Guardian’s Fund, he indicated that on average, it took 30 to 60 days from the time of submission of a request for payment to the time of actual payment.
“A more involved and detailed process is of the receipt of funds into the Guardian’s Fund, advertisement of next of kin meetings, scheduling, assessment of claim to the time of actual payment,” he explained.
He added that there were legal steps laid down by the Administration of Estates Act that had to be complied with from the time of receipt of funds to the time of payment, which cut across two different departments, the master’s office and OAG.
Again, he said 61 Guardian’s Fund files were opened for the payment of compensation for the deceased beneficiaries of the Disana/Maun International Airport move in July last year.
The minister told Parliament that the Office of the Accountant General’s (OAG) had not yet established a Guardian’s Fund office at the fairly new Maun High Court and therefore funds were deposited in Francistown, adding that however did not stop beneficiaries from submitting their claims at Maun High Court.
Parliament also heard that there were 12 922 active files in Gaborone and Francistown High Court under the Guardian’s Fund, while on average 194 payments were processed per week for various claims submitted, including majors claiming their share of inheritance.
“However, a backlog eradication plan has been developed and is in place. Backlog of cases for the year 2018 to 2021 were advertised for the next of kin meetings to be held last year and there are still being attended to up to the end of this month,” he added.
The minister indicated that next of kin meetings would be advertised next month (April) to commence in May or June this year.
He said the meetings would be held at the Maun High Court where payments would also be processed even though the Guardian’s Fund account holding the funds was in Francistown.
Maun East Member of Parliament, Mr Goretetse Kekgonegile had wanted to know if the minister was aware of the delays in paying beneficiaries of trusts funds, garnishee orders, inheritance funds, among others, as well as turnaround time the High Court must pay a beneficiary upon receipt of funds. ENDS
Source : BOPA
Author : BOPA
Location : GABORONE
Event : PARLIAMENT
Date : 09 Mar 2023