17 February 2013

Rwanda: Anti-Corruption Week Ends With Call Against Graft

Legal practitioners, including judges, lawyers, and prosecutors, should carry on their duties while upholding the judicial professional ethics so as to earn public honour.

The Chief Justice, Sam Rugege, made the remark while closing the anti-corruption week at the weekend. The ceremony was preceded by a march across the city streets.

Rugege said the week has been an important initiative due to the activities that courts across the country engaged in.

"Given the willingness and capacity to handle corruption-related cases in this week [last week] as well as the sensitisation campaigns against corruption, I am sure that this week plays a significant role in educating not only legal practitioners, but also the general public on the negative effects of this practice," Rugege said.

The anti-corruption week started on February 11. During the period, awareness activities were carried out at sector level, in secondary schools and prisons, among others.

Graft cases in court

The media was also used to offer information, especially through corruption-related programmes over radio stations, which gave the public opportunity to contribute during call-ins.

Between 2009 and 2011, 43 out of 83 corruption cases were cleared.

Although officials could not give the exact figure of corruption-related cases for last year, sources indicate most corruption cases relate to breaching of tendering procedures.

Rugege called on judges to ensure expeditious handling of corruption-related cases; urging that it is sometimes a challenge as some of those accused are not detained therefore complicating the exercise.

"Coming up with this kind of initiative (Supreme Court Anti-corruption Week) does not mean things are completely fine or that there is too much corruption in courts, but it's a preventive measure against any party that may want to distort the image of our judicial system," the Chief Justice said.

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