27 July 2012

Rwanda: Scandalous Survivors Housing Project Should Be an Eye-Opener


The decision of the Genocide Survivors Fund (FARG) to sue 26 companies contracted to build houses for vulnerable survivors but instead did sloppy work or abandoning the projects altogether, is indeed disturbing. While the figures involved may appear to be mind-boggling, what is spiteful is the fact that the project aimed at reaching out to a people that have had a dreadfully painful past.

From a benign standpoint, the government has invested a huge amount of taxpayers' money into the housing projects to ensure that the survivors live decently and in a way help to lessen the emotional scars associated with the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.

It is sad that despite the government's good intentions, the contractors handling the projects resorted to sloppy work for self-aggrandisement, thereby frustrating the former's efforts. Equally surprising. is the fact that each of the housing units had a budget of Rwf2.2 million. Yet, after evaluation by the Auditor General, the value of the constructed houses was estimated at a meagre Rwf900,000.

The recovery efforts of Rwf593.3 million that government lost in the process is just the first step in ensuring that a similar occurrence does not arise. But the poor workmanship seemed so prevalent that it lifts the lid over probable connivance between the contractors and some dodgy officials who also ought to face the full force of the law. Also disquieting is the fact that there should have been responsible officials either from FARG or seconded from the Ministry of Infrastructure to oversee every detail of the works but whom nonetheless went missing. There is thus need to get to the root of this highly scandalous situation by conducting swift and thorough investigations to net all those involved.

By and large, this serves as an eye-opener that should see the creation of a new regulatory framework to ensure attention to detail in the execution of similarly large public infrastructural projects.

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