The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Rwf200 Million Mismanaged By Cooperatives

In a period of two months, 28 cooperatives lost over Rwf 200 million, according to records from Rwanda Cooperative Agency (RCA).

RCA audit reports that The Sunday Times obtained indicate that in the month of July and August, 169 people, including top managers, were named as suspects.

The July audit shows that over Rwf 99 million went missing from 14 cooperatives while in August, over Rwf 101million was unaccounted for in another 14.

"We audit cooperatives when we suspect there is something wrong or after getting a request from members," Damien Mugabo, RCA Director General told The Sunday Times in an interview this week.

For instance, Coamanya, a seed variety multiplier cooperative, lost over Rwf 51 million while COCOPHAR, that promotes heath related activities in Nyarugenge District, lost over Rwf 36 million.

Zirakamwa, a farmer's cooperative in Kirehe District had about Rwf 19 million unaccounted for while Izirikane, a poultry farming cooperative in Gasabo District, lost over Rwf 13 million.

Information from RAC indicates that during their investigations, about 50 members were interrogated in relation to the missing funds.

"Those who will be found culpable will be prosecuted and forced to pay back the money they embezzled," Mugabo said.

Over Rwf 53 million has so far been refunded, and according to Mugabo, legal steps will be taken to ensure that members of the cooperatives do not lose their money.

RCA Director of the Supervision and Audit Unit, Christine Mukakiramba, said the loss was as a result of mismanagement and allocation of funds without authorisation.

"You find that some managers use members' savings and capital to carry out their personal businesses," she said.

Mukakiramba added that among other measures RCA had put in place to fight corruption and embezzlement of funds, was to carry out abrupt inspection and audits.

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