10 November 2012

Rwanda: Gakenke Ordered to Recover Embezzled Funds

The Parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has ordered Gakenke district authorities to recover public funds that amount to millions embezzled by civil servants in the district.

The committee deputy chairman, Evode Kalima on Friday, told the district officials that not only must embezzlement of public funds be halted, but previously siphoned funds must also be recovered.

The 20011 Auditor General's report indicates that a former district accountant forged signatures and withdrew money from the district's central bank account.

"We noted cases of misappropriation of district funds, first there is over Rwf30 million stolen then there is Rwf10 million and then another Rwf7million. You must explain these cases. How far is the process of recovery?" asked Kalima.

Auditors established that the former accountant, Edouard Nizeyimana, forged the former district Executive Secretary's signature and withdrew Rwf38.6m from the district bank account at the Central Bank.

The money was taken from the district bank account through transfers by cheques and payment orders.

The same accountant also withdrew Rwf10, 262, 000 from the district account (BNR-1210530) which wasn't recorded in the cashbook and therefore could not be traced.

Nizeyimana, currently serving a five-year jail term was sentenced at the time of the audit.

The district Mayor, Deogratias Nzamwita, told MPs that after serving his term, a new case will be opened against Nizeyimana in hope of recovering the money.

"About others, there is a lady who worked in VUP, Louise Uwimana, has disappeared but I think her case will be heard in court, next week. And then there is another one who was headmistress of a secondary school and her husband who was a teacher. They have both since disappeared."

Meanwhile, like many other districts in the country, the district was also faulted for the misappropriation of public funds released for poverty alleviation.

Auditors highlighted a case in which in December 2010, Gakenke district made a transfer of Rwf17, 664, 600 to a VUP account (VUP-Busengo/Gakenke) in Bank of Kigali meant to pay for public works (terracing) but the money was reportedly misappropriated.

Part of it, Rwf13, 491, 900 was handed over to the Finance Officer of VUP Umurenge-Busengo on December 29, 2010 but it was misappropriated.

When the issue was discovered by management in December 2011, the finance officer refunded Rwf6m.

The remaining Rwf7, 491, 900 had not been refunded by the time of the audit in March 2012.

The finance officer who is implicated in the case has reportedly fled the country.

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