8 March 2018

Rwanda: We Are Beefing Up Anti-Corruption Measures, Says Prosecutor General

Prosecutor General Jean Bosco Mutangana has outlined new measures to stem graft, in view of last week's National Leadership Retreat recommendations.

Reinforcement of measures to fight corruption in the public and private sectors as well as recovering embezzled public resources is part of the 13 resolutions from the just-concluded annual retreat.

Resolution two indicates that government would come down hard on those individuals or entities that do not abide by the annual recommendations by the Office of the Auditor General as regards fighting corruption.

In an interview with The New Times on Wednesday, Mutangana said the new measures to deal with the vice will include: inter-agency cooperation, law enforcement with high-quality prosecution led investigations aimed at securing convictions, and "continued assessment of the Auditor General's reports by enforcing capacity of Prosecutors in the Economic and Financial Crimes Unit of NPPA."

According to Mutangana, it is also important for government to increase capacity for scientific evidence in order to detect highly organised and covert crimes like corruption and other related offences.

Mutangana reiterated that the fight against corruption must be embraced by everyone if it is to succeed.

He said: "Corruption has to be fought with everyone's involvement. As prosecutors, our constitutional mandate of investigating and prosecuting crime shall relentlessly be pursued with emphasis on economic and financial crimes that continue to impact the country from a socio-economic perspective."

Clément Musangwabatware, the deputy Ombudsman in charge of preventing and fighting corruption and other related offences, believes strengthening awareness by focusing on youth and sectors highly exposed to corruption is one of the key ways the war on graft will bear fruit.

Musangwabatware said that "enforcement of laws and revisiting some" such as the public procurement law, the law on fighting corruption, the Penal Code, are other measures.

He called for stronger collaboration among institutions, both at national and international level, which he said is key.

On asset recovery, Musangwabatware cited "applying the law systematically" as the way to go. Strengthening the functioning of advisory councils to fight corruption and injustice as well as use of ICT in services procurement, he said, are among the other tools.

Botswana, Seychelles and Rwanda remain the least corrupt African countries, according to Corruption Perception Index 2017 released in February.

In Africa, Rwanda was ranked behind Botswana (which is 34th globally), and Seychelles (36th).

Rwanda registered a slight improvement in corruption fight score, from 54 per cent in 2016 to 55 per cent in 2017, the report by anti-graft watchdog Transparency International showed.

The report ranked Rwanda 48th least corrupt country globally, from 50th position in 2016.

Last December, during a general assembly of members of the African Parliamentarians Network against Corruption (APNAC), at Parliament in Kigali, it was observed that there was need for more effective measures - beyond laws - in the fight against corruption.

At the time, Jean Marie Twagirayezu, Commissioner for Criminal Investigation Department (CID) at the Rwanda National Police, indicated that the year 2017 saw more corruption cases than years before.

By November 2017, it was then noted, police had received 411 corruption cases, a higher number compared to 223 cases in 2014, 366 cases in 2015, and 243 cases in 2016.

Lately, Parliament has begun deliberating on draft legislation on fighting corruption intent on, among others, upping the punishments meted out on offenders.

The nation's anti-corruption policy represents a commitment to achieve good governance through preventing and fighting corruption and it focuses on people, systems and organisations and on building a culture where integrity is valued and corruption rejected, observers say.

It, among others, sets an ambitious agenda to achieve a public service that appreciates and embraces integrity, accepts the need for transparency and accountability, and ensures full compliance with regulatory and legal requirements.


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