17 January 2016

Rwanda: Digital Criminals Have Nowhere to Hide

editorial

Rwanda prides itself for having a zero-tolerance policy on corruption and many steps have been taken to curb or uproot it all together.

But fighting corruption is not as easy as it sounds; it needs constant upgrading to keep abreast with the crafty game. Corrupt officials will always find new ways to beat the system; they always find new loopholes to exploit.

While appearing before the Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Human Rights and Petitions, the Ombudsman revealed that today, money does not change hands but rather mobile phones exchange money.

Because of the risks involved in handling cash, some corrupt public officials have embraced technology; payment is done by mobile money with the wrong impression that they have left no paper trail. This embracing of technology should not come as a threat to the Ombudsman's office, but rather a blessing.

Information technology should make it easy to track those who think using mobile money for their nefarious deeds will go unnoticed. There is always an electronic footprint whatever service provider the new breed of corrupt officials use. That should be the Ombudsman's focus whenever allegations of electronic graft arise.

One other aspect of fighting graft that had been instituted by the Office of the Ombudsman was naming and shaming culprits. That seems to have lost its initial impetus, but a few rotten apples should not tarnish our image. They should be paraded out there for all to see and handed stiff penalties as a deterrence.

We have appropriate infrastructure to fight emerging digital crime, let us utilize it fully.

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