18 February 2013

Rwanda: PAC Wants Testimonies Used in Fraud Cases

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has requested Parliament to provide it with necessary technology to record and keep statements by budget managers during its grilling sessions so that they (the testimonies) can be used as evidence.

This was among the six major recommendations by PAC Deputy Chairperson, MP Evode Kalima, as he briefed the assembly following the committee's latest analysis of the 2010/11 audit report by the Office of the Auditor General (OAG).

"This is basically how things are done elsewhere, especially in the UK and Uganda," Kalima said. "They have a special studio with equipment that fittingly captures everything, not what you have seen in our sessions."

Top officials, including budget managers from over 40 institutions, provinces and districts were last year grilled by PAC over graft-related allegations.

Billions unaccounted for

Officials who appear before PAC often confess to various financial crimes as well as mismanagement.

The audit report presented to Parliament in June last year indicates that government ministries and parastatals spent at least Rwf5.9b without supporting documents during the 2010/11 audit period.

It covered government ministries, districts, provinces, 30 per cent of public enterprises and public institutions of higher learning, among others. It has audits on 15 per cent of government projects and programmes.

Some Rwf4.5b was unaccounted for compared to Rwf9.7b in the previous report.

PAC also recommended that lawmakers and staffs on its committee should be availed pertinent training, access to study tours abroad to help augment their knowledge.

Kalima also said his committee should be given at least two permanent staff with knowledge on PAC's responsibilities.

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