Prosecution to investigate Ngororero tender scam

GASABO - The Prosecutor General’s office is investigating the circumstances under which a construction firm, Cogeelec, which had initially not participated in the tendering process for the rehabilitation of the Gatumba-Rubavu road in Ngororero District, was awarded the tender. Apparently the tender had been won by Enterprise Ecogl. According to sources in Ngororero, this move irked many local authorities as it flouts the standing rules on the awarding of government tenders. 
INVESTIGATING: Alphonse Hitiyaremye
INVESTIGATING: Alphonse Hitiyaremye

GASABO - The Prosecutor General’s office is investigating the circumstances under which a construction firm, Cogeelec, which had initially not participated in the tendering process for the rehabilitation of the Gatumba-Rubavu road in Ngororero District, was awarded the tender.

Apparently the tender had been won by Enterprise Ecogl.
According to sources in Ngororero, this move irked many local authorities as it flouts the standing rules on the awarding of government tenders.

For unknown reasons, the district tender committee handed the tender to Cogeelec Rwanda in 2008, yet this company had not participated in the initial tender process.

Enterprise Ecogl had offered to rehabilitate the road at a cost of Rwf 312m but the tender was later given to new entrants Cogeelec Rwanda which quoted an inflated Rwf 294m for the work.

Before Ecogl was given a go ahead to start work, a district advisory committee meeting convened on November 23, 2008 overturned the tender committee’s decision and awarded the contract to newcomer, Cogeelec Rwanda.

The advisory committee has no powers to award tenders.
The Ngororero sources said yesterday that Enterprise Ecogl was furious and later petitioned the Local Government Ministry to intervene.

When contacted on Monday, Deputy Prosecutor General, Alphonse Hitiyaremye confirmed that his office was going to investigate the matter.

“This matter has come to our attention and we are looking into this issue,” Hitiyaremye said at his Kimihurura offices.

A source from the Ministry of Local Government said the officials in the ministry met a fortnight ago to discuss why the tender changed hands.

“The ministry wants district officials involved in the scandal to be prosecuted,” the source who spoke on condition of anonymity said by phone yesterday.

The tender probe comes months after an audit report by the Ministry of Local Government indicated that public funds in Ngororero district, Western Province are not being properly accounted for.

The audit report made public in May this year states that tenders in the district were being awarded in total disregard to the rules that govern normal tendering process.

The 19-page audit report, a copy of which The NewTimes obtained also raises serious concerns where district leaders interfere with the tendering process.

The audit was initiated following persistent reports that some senior personalities at the district were allegedly bending tendering rules to steal public funds.

The prosecution probe also comes days after the Rubavu Intermediate Court last Thursday sentenced the Mayor of Ngororero and his deputy to five and six-year jail terms respectively over the embezzlement of public funds.

Both former Mayor Cyprian Nsengimana and Jacques Habimana, the former vice-Mayor in charge of Economic Affairs were sentenced in absentia and are now reportedly on the run.

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