22 January 2019

Rwanda: Senate Calls Out Rwanda Energy Group Over Accounting Flaws

Officials at the Rwanda Energy Group (REG) yesterday told senators that they have made steps towards correcting their accounting mistakes that were highlighted in Auditor General's (AG) report.

The officials, who included Ron Weiss, the Chief Executive Officer, and Robert Nyamvumba, the acting chairperson of Board of Directors, were appearing before the Senate.

President of the Senate Bernard Makuza consults with others senators during the meeting with REG officials yesterday

The session was part of an on-going assessment by the senators designed to understand reasons behind accounting and performance flaws at various government institutions as indicated by several reports by the AG.

The AG report for the fiscal year 2016/17 indicated that there were delayed financial reporting and unreliable financial statements at REG's subsidiary Energy Utility Corporation Limited (EUCL) as well as unreliable financial statements at the company's Energy Development Corporation Limited (EDCL).

Errors noted at EUCL included unreconciled balances, unsupported transactions and balances, and instances of omitted balances.

Errors at EDCL included wrong accounting treatment for some transactions, unreconciled balances and instances of unsupported transactions and balances processed through the books of account.

Those errors involved billions of Rwandan francs and senators expressed doubts whether REG was in position to improve its accounting practices.

"It looks like the institution is far from getting a clean audit and I wonder if there are tangible measures to achieve a clean audit," said senator Consolée Uwimana.

But REG officials reassured that a lot has been done since the AG's report and that a number of things have been improved, including submitting financial statements to shareholders in time.

Weiss told senators that REG's financial statements for 2017-2018 fiscal year have already been submitted, something that he already considers a good step in the right direction.

"It was the first time we did it on time and we will continue to do it on time," he said.

In an interview with the media shortly after the hearing, Nyamvumba said that REG has internally reformed its team in order to respond to the AG's recommendations.

"There are mistakes indicated in the management of public funds but measures have been taken to help REG implement recommendations by the Auditor General," he said.

He added that the body has instructions from its Board of Directors that it needs to get a clean audit record in future reports by the AG and a number of working guidelines have been issued to ensure the goal is achieved.

"We were advised to ensure that we have clean audits in the future," he said in the interview.

With about half of households in Rwanda accessing electricity, Nyamvumba said, REG has planned to use solar energy to connect 48 per cent of households in the country, while the remaining 52 per cent will be connected on the national grid.

Government targets universal electricity coverage by 2024.


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