19 November 2012

Rwanda: Giving Prosecutorial Powers to Ombudsman Is in Good Faith - Ngoga

The proposal to give the office of the Ombudsman mandate to prosecute some corruption cases will boost the anti-corruption fight in the country, the Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga, said.

The legislation that is currently in parliament seeks to empower the Ombudsman to conduct prosecution of some cases considered by officials as exceptional, before courts of law.

In an exclusive interview with The New Times last week, Ngoga pledged to support the government inspectorate to execute its work, once it gets the mandate.

"This bill is in parliament and it is the wisdom of parliament that will guide its final process. From my point of view, there is no problem with the office of the Ombudsman being given powers to prosecute certain situations," said Ngoga.

He, however, added that he was not in position to predict whether this would succeed or not, "but I believe that all is being done in good faith."

"It is the Ombudsman that specifically deals with corruption, being given additional powers to prosecute some cases is something I personally have no problems with."

In a recent interview with The New Times, the Chief Ombudsman Aloysia Cyanzaire explained that the cases that will be prosecuted by her office will be of a very exceptional nature, for instance if it is the National Public Prosecutions Authority that is being probed.

"Of course it comes along with challenges. They are not a professional prosecutorial organ, but everything has a beginning," said Ngoga, adding that what is most important was that the initiative is forward-looking.

Other issues discussed during the interview included the response by African countries towards arresting and extraditing Genocide fugitives, which he called disappointing.

"Some countries have been totally indifferent such as Mozambique, Malawi and to some extent Zambia...these people don't seem to know the gravity of what we talk about. We have fugitives running about in their capitals and doing flourishing businesses and who are well known," he said.

"It is a challenge for some of these countries to really review their situation and understand that what they are doing is not acceptable and undermines our own credibility as Africans."

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