It all started by a whistleblower. An insider in the Ministry of Public Service and Labour allegedly tipped his colleagues that Epimaque Kabanda, an accountant, had allegedly pocketed money meant for journalists.
The journalists had been invited to cover a story for the ministry and after the event; they were reportedly given “facilitation” money.
Kabanda allegedly only gave Rwf5,000 to each journalist but presented a different list, showing that every journalist had been given over Rwf10,000.
When the journalists learnt of the fraud, they protested and gave their side of the story to ministry officials.
Immediately, the ministry launched investigations into the matter and Kabanda was fired.
“The case is in Gasabo court and the verdict is set November 30. It’s something to do with embezzlement,” Sylvere Gataliye, a senior prosecutor at Gasabo Court said yesterday by phone.
Gataliye said the money was embezzled in 2006. A year later, an audit was carried out by the office of Auditor General. Investigations established that over Rwf1million was unaccounted for.
“The journalists are not supposed to get money in the first place. He failed to explain why he released the money,” explained Gataliye.
Kabanda was arrested together with Emmanuel Gashumba, another official from the same ministry.
Gashumba was then heading a project initiated by the ministry to improve the skills of government employees.
Under Gashumba’s tenure, investigations revealed that over Rwf11million was missing. He was immediately arrested and charged.
“The number of suspects was high at first, but after their side of the story was heard by court, we detained only three suspects.
The third suspect is Esperance Irandigiza, a former storekeeper. It is said that during her time, the ministry’s property went missing yet she was “the only person in charge.”