Rwanda loses 4.3bn in one year: Are we losing the grip on corruption?

The revelation that the country lost Rwf 4.3billion of taxpayers money in shoddy deals, corrupt officiating, bribery, and poor accounting is shocking to say the least.

The report presented to Parliament Wednesday by the Auditor General went ahead to expose how so much was uncounted for in different government institutions raising questions as to whether the government _which has so long benefited from drumming herself up as being stringently anti-corruption- still has a grip on the flow of tax payers cash.

Shocking still is the fact that it is a scenario Rwandans have got used to. Every year, when Evelyn Kamagaju, the AG takes the microphone to announce the finding of the previous year’s report, many already know what is. A few scandals here and there, some mismanaged funds that side, a failure to properly spend and a loophole in tendering, which at the end of the day, end up costing the country so much.

Question now is, how long are we going to go on with this sort of thieving and loss before we can take to book those responsible? Frw 4billion is a huge amount. A huge amount even still, if you consider that the UN classifies 60% of Rwanda’s total population as living in abject poverty. It is an amount that can change a lot, was it to be saved. But our unscrupulous public officials instead wont tell us how it ended up being paid in top up fees, illegal transport allowances, internet fraudsters or worse still, in telephone bills.

You tell me why a body like the Media Council, which has been blamed for not doing their work by a host of journalists in the country, should spend Frw 2.8m in telephone bills?

Are you kidding me? Do these thugs know what they are meant to do or do they trust in sitting in offices and calling international agencies conning them and lobbying them to not tell the truth about the reality in country? You have to be shockingly out of your wits to even begin contemplating why the taxpayer should foot a bill that much, so a lazy and useless official, can call for 2.8 million. Crazy, isn’t it?

According to the report, of the 110 entities that were audited, 29 had expenditures that could not be justified. Surprisingly those entities have got their own internal auditors who receive salaries at the end of each month for doing – well- as we now know, nothing. Why not sack these useless lot? May be harsh, but ok, why not ask them what they are doing?

It also uncovered more cases of fraud compared to previous years. “Most of the fraud cases are mainly related to forgery and falsification of documents and payments of goods and services which were not actually delivered to the entities,” reads the report. Mr President, since everything seems to move only when you get involved, can we not have a fraud department. Or at least people to sensitise our unsuspecting officials about the dangers of trying to get so rich over the internet or leaving our bank details exposed to West Africans?

It pins the Ministry of Agriculture for outstanding deposits of Rwf 21.9 million made in 2007 which still appeared as reconciling items in 2008.

“The Ministry did not provide bank deposit slips and invoices for these transactions to confirm their validity” reads the report.

The audit noted a case where the government gave Rwf 3.1billion to the National Road Fund but this money was not recognized as a payment from the Ministry of Finance.

“This means that the debtors shown in the consolidated financial statements are overstated by this amount,” the report says.

The report says that Rwf 1.9 billion was spent by different government institutions on over payment of contractors.
A case in point is when the Ministry of Infrastructure paid Enterprise Mugarura Alexis Rwf 949.4 million in excess for construction of headquarters for the Eastern Province in Rwamagana.

The contract for the construction was initially Rwf 1.7billion but the contractor only carried out work worth Rwf 737.2 million.

The same ministry lost Rwf 965.5 million to BCE contractors as an over payment for the periodical maintenance of Mudasomwa-Gisozu road and the maintenance works on the Butare-Kibeho-Muse.

Several institutions illegally released unduly expenses that were not accounted for. Forest Conservation Project (PAFOR) released Rwf 78 million on scholarships without documentation of approval while RITA paid Rwf 25 million as allowances to a non- IT staff who works in the Administration and Finance departments.

Rwanda Institute of Administration and Management (RIAM) illegally paid transport allowances of over Rwf 17.9 million without the approval of the Board of Directors while the Institute of Science and Technological Research (IRST) spent Rwf 6.9 million on bonuses without prior approval of Cabinet.

The Media High Council has been exposed in the report for paying Rwf 2.8m above the limit in telephone allowances while the Senate spent Rwf 7.6m as an overpayment of salary for deceased Senator Elie Mpayimana. The report indicates that Mpayimana’s family received the money in excess to the funeral expenses.

Shockingly, Rusizi district lost Rwf 4.9m to internet fraudsters Cisse Ali Bari and Kome Mamadou of Ivory Coast while Trac Plus spent Rwf 3.1m on over payment of salaries and Rwf 19.2m on payment of unapproved top up on salaries.

It also adds that there are cases whereby bonuses and other expenditures amounting to Rwf 154m were paid in different institutions while unauthorised staff advances and loans to the tune of Rwf404m were issued out.

As for these bonuses, may be we could borrow a leaf from our friends in the West whose banks and bank bonuses sunk the world economy into the worst recession known to this generation. Stop caressing the thieves by just exposing them, let them pay and or serve some good years in the best prisons in our country.


Author: ellyakanga

I am Eleneus Akanga. Welcome to my blog about my experience as a Rwandan journalist and all that comes with the trade in East Africa. It's been a great journey so far but very challenging at times. Join me, let's get cracking!

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