Chamber says economic court will free tied money


17-April-2012

Many businesses come to a standstill when there is a dispute in court and people lose their jobs, while property owners cannot use or rent out premises involved in a dispute, but if the courts can resolve pending issues faster, the businesses would be able to run again and contribute more to the economy, he told Nation on telephone.

Dr Ramadoss was commenting on recent statements by Finance, Trade and Investment Minister Pierre Laporte and chief justice (CJ) Fredrick Egonda-Ntende that the courts are working to make Seychelles a better place to do business.

The World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business chart places Seychelles in a very poor position 183 where resolving insolvency is concerned and shows there has been no improvement from last year when the country held the same rank.

When he chaired the first session of a new committee he created to find ways to ease doing business in Seychelles, Mr Laporte noted the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank – which lists 183 economies – has placed Seychelles in position 103 up from rank 109 last year, which he said “is not bad but we can improve on”.

He said steps to start an economic court are advanced and it is about to start soon with the chief justice hearing cases helped by another judge.

CJ Egonda-Ntende told Nation the reforms he started two years ago are still gaining momentum.

Before taking up his appointment here, Mr Egonda-Ntende was the head of Uganda’s Commercial Court which he nurtured and ran for a long time, drawing commendation from local media and businesses who said the court had “unlocked tied-up business opportunities”.

Talking to Nation earlier, he said:
“If someone supplies goods and there is a dispute before he is paid, forcing him to wait for so long before his case is settled, then his money is held up and he cannot reinvest it.”

President James Michel has been calling for faster court reform saying it is “an important element in the new economic course Seychelles has adopted”.

“Our economy is moving rapidly. Our country is moving rapidly. We need a judiciary that moves rapidly,” said Mr Michel in his last National Day address.

Mr Egonda-Ntende referred to a number of courses he has negotiated for from the US embassy in Mauritius, saying they will boost the courts’ efficiency:

“When I came here I talked about the need for capacity building and to centre the same on Seychellois professionals in order to create a reliable foundation to build the new judiciary.

“These courses – which I negotiated with the US ambassador almost two years ago – form one plank of it.

“The idea is to boost efficiency and reduce the backlog and speed up the hearing of cases. We are tackling the problem in multifaceted manner. Results take time to show though,” he told Nation.

Under the programme, seven Seychellois judges and magistrates will train at the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada this year through a US $100,000 grant from the US embassy’s Economic Support Fund.

They are magistrates Brassel Adeline, Samia Govinden, Laura Pillay, Kishnan Labonté and judges Gustave Dodin, Durai Karunakaran, and Bernadin Renaud.

They will cover Conducting of Trials, Enhancing Judicial Bench Skills, General Jurisdiction and Civil Mediation. Each theme will take between one and two weeks. They started in March and will end in July.

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