Ombudsman to get prosecutorial powers

KIGALI - The Office of the Ombudsman has been given powers to investigate corruption and injustice cases in a new Ministerial Order that was published recently. This comes after complaints had been raised on the limited powers of the office, whose role has been hitherto, limited to ‘advising’ other judicial institutions to investigate these cases for an eventual prosecution.
GIVEN MORE POWERS: Ombudsman Tito Rutaremara
GIVEN MORE POWERS: Ombudsman Tito Rutaremara

KIGALI - The Office of the Ombudsman has been given powers to investigate corruption and injustice cases in a new Ministerial Order that was published recently. 

This comes after complaints had been raised on the limited powers of the office, whose role has been hitherto, limited to ‘advising’ other judicial institutions to investigate these cases for an eventual prosecution.

A special unit composed of 24 staff has been identified and will have the power to investigate all acts related to the functions of the Ombudsman, prevent and fight injustice, corruption and other offences.

According to the order which was published in the Official Gazette of September 28 in its Article 3, the staff of the office of Ombudsman will work independently and in respect of the law.

The special unit was selected from different departments include asset declaration, anti-corruption and injustice because they encounter with such cases in their activities.

In an interview with Séraphin Rumaziminsi who heads the unit in charge of fighting corruption and injustice, he said that the new development will make the office more effective.

“There have been delays or incomplete investigations in the recommended cases and the order will ease our work,” he said.

Rumaziminsi noted that the office targets loopholes in government institutions and will work closely with police on individual cases.

The Ombudsman conducts annual operational audit among government institutions to strengthen good governance and transparency.

“We want to move from giving out recommendations, and carry out investigations and prosecute cases. This gives trust and confidence to those with problems,” he emphasized.

“Closing a corruption case will also make informers build their trust in feeding us with more information on corruption, injustice and embezzlement cases,” he added.

The office also intends to recommend that embezzled funds be recovered.

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