20 September 2018

Rwanda: Six Top Officials Arrested Over Embezzling Public Funds At Industrial Research Agency

Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) has arrested six officials including former Director General of the National Industrial Research and Development Agency (NIRDA), Joseph Mungarulire, allegedly over embezzlement and mismanagement of public funds.

The officials are specifically being probed for embezzling and misusing funds meant for the establishment of Community Processing Centers in Districts (CPCs).

According Modeste Mbabazi, the RIB spokesperson, the suspects allegedly committed the crimes between 2014 and 2017 when Mungarurire was at the helm of the agency.

Five other suspects - who are detained at different police stations - are senior officers who are still serving at the agency at management level, including the Director of Finance.

Others according to Mbabazi are members of the internal tender committee, among others all of whom preliminary investigations pinned on conniving to commit the crime.

"All the suspects were arrested yesterday (Wednesday) they were summoned to the RIB office for questioning and were shortly arrested from there, investigations are ongoing and their dossiers will be forwarded to prosecution soon," Mbabazi told The New Times today morning.

"There were Community Processing Centres which should have been set up in districts but they were either not constructed or those which were, shoddy work was done, in fact there was a huge mismanagement of funds," he said.

He said the amount of the embezzled money remains a secret as investigations are still ongoing.

Mungarulire served as the Director General of NIRDA from 2014 and was replaced by Kampeta Sayinzoga last year in August.

The Community Processing Centres were supposed to be developed by the agency across the country on the 'design, build and pass on' model.

Each district is supposed at least get a processing centre depending on what kind of crops are grown there, or economic activity that is suitable for that area, according to officials.

The centres focus on different sectors, including milk processing, agro-processing, fashion and design, potato processing, as well as woodworks, making of essential oils, medicines and honey processing, among others.

The agency's task is but not limited to improving the competitiveness of existing industries in order to increase their export potential and their potential to undertake import substitution.

It also has to identify new sub-sectors or value chains where investment by the private sector would lead to export growth or import substitution.

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