Over 400 gov’t leaders yet to declare wealth

KIGALI - Almost 445 civil servants are yet to declare their wealth to the office of the Ombudsman, nearly five months after the deadline, The New Times has learnt. The deadline ended on June 30 but some leaders have failed to send in their wealth declaration forms despite persistent pleas from the Ombudsman’s office.
Ombudsman Tito Rutaremara
Ombudsman Tito Rutaremara

KIGALI - Almost 445 civil servants are yet to declare their wealth to the office of the Ombudsman, nearly five months after the deadline, The New Times has learnt.

The deadline ended on June 30 but some leaders have failed to send in their wealth declaration forms despite persistent pleas from the Ombudsman’s office.

Government employees are required by the 2006 Wealth Declaration Law to submit their annual declaration of income, assets and liabilities for verification by June 30.

The idea behind the declarations is that officials who accumulate wealth beyond their means should be investigated.

A source from the office of the Ombudsman said yesterday the body had already compiled a list of officials who refused to comply and it’s now in the hands of the Ombudsman for scrutiny.

“It has become a habit because some employees tend to come up with funny excuses. It’s going to be strict,” a source who spoke on condition of anonymity said yesterday.

When contacted on Monday, Jeanne Mwisaneza, the Director of the Wealth Declarations Unit, confirmed the development and revealed that her office had already recommended that officials who failed to meet the deadline be disciplined.

“We shall be writing to them before the end of this week to hear their last word,” said Mwisaneza, adding “government leaders with no credible excuses will either be fined or arrested.”

Information from the Ombudsman indicates that in the past, some leaders had amassed wealth beyond their earnings. There were also cases of under-declaration.

Usually, the Office of Ombudsman gives a one-month ultimatum in which those caught up by the deadline return the forms, which is not the case this time.

Any leader who fails to declare his/her wealth without any reasonable cause commits a breach of law and the penalty is huge.

The Leadership Code Act aims at strengthening the fight against corruption through increased accountability and transparency by top leaders in government.

They include the President, ministers, judges, MPs, Police, army and Prisons officers, heads of departments in central and local governments, district leaders among others.

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