The New Times (Kigali)

5 December 2012

Rwanda: Fighting Corruption Is a Top Priority - PM

Gisagara — The Government is committed to eradicating corruption and injustices, Prime Minister Dr Pierre Damien Habumuremyi has said.

"Our government attaches much importance to the fight against corruption," he stated.

The Premier made the remarks on Wednesday while officiating at the launch of the national anti-corruption week, an annual exercise which focuses on educating and sensitising the public to actively become involved in the fight against graft.

While addressing thousands of residents in Ndora sector, Gisagara district, the premier reaffirmed the government's resolve towards ending the vices.

"Though our fight [against corruption] is yielding good results, we want to keep moving forward until we have a society free from corruption," he stated.

He noted that over the past years, Rwanda has gone a long way in addressing corruption but added that the fight still goes on.

"We are proud of our strategies [to fight corruption]", he said. "They are paying off," Habumuremyi added, as he referred to a recent report which ranked Rwanda the third least corrupt country in the Sub-Saharan Africa.

He warned anyone who still has "a heart of taking or giving a bribe" that he will be dealt with accordingly. "Everyone is watching," he warned.

"All institutions and organs have established mechanisms to fight graft. If you think you will give or take a bribe and go unnoticed, you are in for a bad shock."

"If you are among those who still have the heart of taking or giving a bribe, know that your days are numbered."

He commended the Office of the Ombudsman for its continuous efforts to put an end to corruption.

He urged residents to desist from "buying services you are entitled to," and warned leaders against the malpractice.

"You should not give your property to gain access to what you are entitled to," he told the public. "Neither should you pay to gain unfair advantages from leaders," he added.

Premier Habumuremyi called on the general public to denounce anyone why tries to seek a bribe from them.

"Do not fear reprisals. No one will harm you if you report such malpractices. The government will protect you," he added.

He referred to the proposal to give the Office of the Ombudsman mandate to prosecute some corruption related cases as another strategy to ensure that the crime is eradicated.

"We want a society free from corruption and injustices," he stated, before adding:"We have strategies to achieve our objectives."

The Chief Ombudsman, Aloysie Cyanzayire, noted that during the Anti-Corruption week there will be sensitisation campaigns to encourage the public to play a leading role in preventing corruption.

She congratulated of Gisagara District for "its outstanding commitment in fighting corruption and championing good governance".

For the last four years, Gisagara has emerged among top two districts in the annual good governance competitions organised by the Office of the Ombudsman, Cyanzayire said.

The National Anti-Corruption Week is an occasion to reflect on the negative effects of corruption and injustices on the individual and the country, in general, and take measures to combat them.

This year's campaign will end on December 9 which is the International Anti-Corruption Day.

The day signifies global efforts to combat corruption besides providing an opportunity to create awareness and commitment to curb graft.

The launch of the week was attended by senior government officials, including the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Tharcisse Karugarama, the Minister of Internal security Sheikh Moussa Fazil Harerimana and the Minister in the President's Office, Venantia Tugireyezu. Also in attendance were delegations from the African Union, Burundi, Kenya, Senegal, Egypt and South Sudan.

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