10 September 2017

Rwanda: REG Vows to Crack Down on Corruption

Rwanda Energy Group (REG) officials have announced that it will not tolerate any corruption cases as such instances are an impediment to achieving efficiency in energy generation and access.

The move, according to the Group, includes reinforcing its disciplinary committee such that it will be given power to sack any corrupt employee.

The officials made the revelation yesterday as they were addressing the media during a press conference held in Kigali.

Last week, Police arrested Emmanuel Kamanzi, the former Managing Director of Energy Development Corporation Ltd (EDCL) - one of the subsidiaries of REG - over accusation of disregarding standard procedures in issuing tenders, whereby he allegedly awarded tenders for 10 defective transformers worth $45,000 and 400 electric poles for $280,000 (about Rwf230 million), according to information from Police.

Before the press conference, REG officials and employees held discussions - behind closed doors - with police, the Office of the Auditor General; and the Minister of Infrastructure (MININFRA), a session that REG CEO, Ron Weiss said was intended to chart ways to improve services that REG provides to the public.

Energy Utilities Corporation Ltd (EUCL) Managing Director, Jean Claude Kalisa said that in the last two years, about 10 employees were fired due to corruption.

The dismissal, he said, was based on decisions that were made by the energy body's disciplinary committee.

"The disciplinary committee is not a court, but once it has facts that an employee has engaged in corruption, or in activities connected to it, dismissal follows, and if there are any consequences that might ensue, the institution will deal with them. But, we will never condone corruption," he stressed.

According to The East African Bribery Index 2017, Rwanda remains the least corrupt country in the region. It states that the highest likelihood of encountering bribery was recorded at the Police Service across the region; 71% of respondents in Tanzania, 69% in Kenya, 67% in Uganda and 29% in Rwanda, whereby those interacting with the Police were asked (implicitly or explicitly) or offered to pay a bribe to access the services they were seeking.

The highest prevalence of bribery was recorded at the Police Service in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania where about 40% of respondents paid a bribe to get the services they were seeking.

In Rwanda, the highest prevalence was recorded at utilities (water and electricity) where 18% of respondents reported paying bribes to access the services.

'East African Bribery Index is focusing on issues that should be solved. We want to deal with, and to improve much, much better on these issues," Weiss said.

Energy targets

Meanwhile, Weiss said that the energy group is setting up projects for energy generation and transmission, with the target to achieve 100% energy access for all Rwandans by 2024.

The number of Rwandans with access to power increased from 10.8 per cent in 2010 to 34.5 per cent currently, according to figures from the ministry of Infrastructure (MININFRA).

Electricity generation increased from 97 megawatts in 2010 to 208.36 megawatts in 2017.

Rwanda targets to generate 563 megawatts, and enable 70 per cent of Rwandan households to access electricity by 2018.

Of these, 48 per cent will be connected to the national grid and 22 per cent on off-grid systems.

The total estimated cost of all programs is around $4.1 billion, with around $2 billion selected to come from public funds, as per data from MININFRA.

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