Rwanda: Auditor-General Set to Present 2019-20 Report to Parliament

The Auditor-General Obadiah Biraro is expected to appear before a joint parliamentary session on Tuesday, May 11, where he will present his 2019/2020 audit report.

In the report, whose summary has been seen by The New Times, Biraro raised concerns over the failure of some institutions to fully implement recommendations that he points out in each report that he has released in the past.

He indicated that so far, the rate of fully implemented recommendations has not reached 50 per cent in the last three years.

He pointed out the value of implementing the recommendations saying that they make a real contribution in achieving the desired improvements in effective management and use of public funds.

The Auditor-General placed some of the blame on inadequate coordination efforts especially in situations where implementing the recommendations does not fall under one public institution.

"Management and those responsible for governance should take the lead in implementing the recommendations because they provide important feedback for resolving the continued occurrence of irregularities and other identified weaknesses," he said.

Concerns raised

The report among others faults the Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board (RAB) for disregarding the principles of efficiency, effectiveness and transparency in awarding tenders worth Rwf21bn representing 40 percent of the institution's total budget of Rwf54bn.

This is blamed on irregularities including inadequate market surveys, improper technical and financial proposal evaluation, and side-lining internal tender committee in awarding some tenders among others.

It points out that RAB failed to meet the conditions set by development partners leading to a loss of Rwf989m earmarked for several projects. As a result, RAB may be required to forego other planned activities to reimburse the funds.

Lack of audits

The report also touches on the National Fund for Environment (FONERWA) which from February 2014 to June 2020 funded 39 projects.

Out of these, 27 were implemented from 2016 to June 2020 to a tune of Rwf25bn. However, the report indicates that there was no final audit for all the 27 completed projects.

"As a result, Fonerwa cannot confirm whether the intended objectives were achieved," the report indicates.

Nduba Landfill

The report indicates that from January 2016 to March 2021, the government has spent Rwf5.6bn on the management of Nduba Landfill.

However, it indicates that the failure is likely to fail due to lack of clear roles and responsibilities in managing the landfill, inefficient management of solid and liquid waste, and delays in conducting the feasibility study for the construction of a modern sanitary landfill.

Tuition fraud case revived

The report revived the fraud case involving Rwf346m meant for Rwandan students in Nigeria that were diverted to an unknown entity back in 2015.

It indicates that although the Rwanda National Police involved Interpol and didn't get feedback, the case stagnated mostly because there was no ownership.

The report indicates that when the Higher Education Council (HEC) took over some duties from the Rwanda Education Board, the former did not pick interest in the case pushing the dream of recovering the money even further away.

Failure to follow up students

The report touched on the government's efforts to sponsor students especially those studying abroad.

It indicates that although they are required to provide the official annual academic progress reports and only promoted students continue to receive government sponsorship, the Rwanda Development Board and HEC do not have records to support these students.

"The progress made by every individual student in terms of how many were sponsored, how many have completed their studies, ongoing students whether promoted or repeated and those who suspended their studies is not known by both institutions," the report indicates.

The report comes at a time when the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has summoned eight cabinet ministers who will this month appear as follow up on the recommendations that were issued after the review of the Auditor General's reports spanning four years.

Prosecuting the crime

The issue of what happens after the Auditor General has publicly released his report every year has a matter of debate.

However, the National Public Prosecution Authority (NPPA) says that it has handled cases related to the 2017-18 Auditor General's report. According to the figures, the prosecution handled 92 files related to this report, and some Rwf537m lost in embezzlement was returned before some of the cases went to trial in the last nine months.

Over the same period, Prosecution has also taken 373 people to court over embezzlement and other corruption-related crimes.

Official numbers obtained exclusively by The New Times, the number is part of embezzlement and corruption-related offenses involving 1,253 (992 male and 261 female) received by this office between July 2020 and March 2021.

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