Rwanda: Jérôme Gasana, Other Top Officials Arrested Over Misuse of Public Funds

Judge's gavel.
21 September 2019

Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) has said it has arrested about eight top Government officials over misuse of public funds.

Jérôme Gasana, the former Director-General of the Workforce Development Agency (WDA) tops the list along with others from different institutions.

Three more officials from WDA were arrested alongside Gasana, RIB said. This includes the former Project Coordinator, the officer in charge of Human Resources Management, and the former Director in Charge of Administration and Finance.

The Administration and Finance Units mainly are tasked with coordination of the development, execution and monitoring of budgets.

According to the investigation bureau, the head of the Investment Department and the Human Resource Officer at Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) were also arrested

This is in addition to two officials from the Water and Sanitation Corporation (WASAC) - the former Director of Administration and Finance as well as the head of Logistics and Administration.

"Investigations continue in other public institutions where public funds were misused/embezzled as mentioned in the AG report to establish criminal responsibilities for suspects to face justice and embezzled public funds be recovered in accordance with the law," RIB said in a tweet on Saturday.

For many years, the Auditor General's (AG) report has pointed out the misuse of public funds as one of the dominant issues faced by public institutions.

According to the latest audits released by the Auditor General, earlier this year, public institutions were characterised by irregular expenditure in form of unsupported expenditure, partially supported expenditure, wasteful expenditure, unauthorised expenditure and funds diverted or fraudulently utilised.

All that amounted to Rwf5,681,814,498.

Such audits have in the past identified cross-cutting issues such as cases of delayed and abandoned contracts, stalled projects, continuing cases of idle assets, failure to recover advance payment and performance securities, as well as non-compliance with taxation laws.

WASAC, RSSB and the Energy, Development Corporation Limited (EDCL), are some of the institutions that have been faulted in these annual reports several times.

Despite this, little efforts have been directed towards bringing such officials to account for such cases.

This ostensibly shows renewed efforts to bring public officials to face accountability.

President Paul Kagame has personally been a strong advocate of accountability and the efficient use of public resources.

Earlier this year in the Southern Province, he alluded to the need for accountability for leaders to deliver on their responsibilities.

The Head of State at the time expressed concern on accountability and proper use of state resources meant for citizen welfare.

"When you know you have the necessary, in this case, a budget of Rwf120 billion, that money cannot just disappear, and year after year nothing has changed or improved. How can you explain this? We need to be showing the impact and change that amount has created. We cannot be like the ones who use a sieve to carry water. We have the ability to think, to do the work," he said.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

Follow https://twitter.com/Julio_Bizimungu

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