16 June 2012

Rwanda: New Policy to Mobilize Population Against Corruption

The cabinet meeting of June 13 has approved an anti-corruption policy, which aims to support existing mechanisms and intends to help the society to learn more about corruption in all its forms, sanctions against it and the joint effort required to fight it.

Explaining the need of the policy, Augustin Nzindukiyimana, the acting Ombudsman, indicated that today that the fight against corruption was left mostly to the government, yet the whole community is concerned. "The government has always played its role properly but other parts of the Rwandan society are lacking. The policy aims to get everybody fully involved," he said.

Concerned are citizens in general, government officials, local government, the private sector and the civil society.

The role of the government, as believes Nzindukiyimana, was obvious as it created an office of ombudsman, which established a leadership code of conduct and approved a law to fight corruption.

A new element in the policy, as the ombudsman explained, is that officials who are found guilty of embezzling public funds will not only face a prison sentence, but also be required to refund the money.

Concerning the civil society and the private sector, the ombudsman says they are not enough involved. "Yet they are the ones who are exposed the most," Nzindukiyimana remarked.

To support his assertion, the ombudsman said that their research indicates that corruption predominates in tendering processes, which mainly concerns the private sector but the civil society as well.

To the general population, the policy provides informal education to create awareness on different forms of corruption, because the office of the ombudsman has realized that sometimes people condone corruption by local authorities without knowing it, especially when it comes to bribes. "It happens that people give without anybody asking for it, because they think that it is the right of the service provider."

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