RWAMAGANA – Managers of Twibumbe Hamwe Rice Union, in Rwamagana district, have called on authorities to freeze assets of the former managers implicated in gross management of funds belonging to the Union.
According to Jean Marie Habamenshi, the Managing Director of the union, four former senior officials are accused of causing financial loss of over Rwf200 million.
They include the former Managing Director Joseph Sematama, currently remanded at Nsinda Prison.
He was arrested about two months ago on the orders of local authorities, following an audit report that unearthed allegations of gross mismanagement.
The union, formerly called COCURIRWA is comprised of 11 cooperatives from the districts of Kayonza, Rwamagana and Ngoma.
“These are people known by all cooperative members as having been living humble lifestyles,” Habamenshi said. “But within very few years, they had accumulated massive wealth. We need a mechanism to help recover such corruption-related assets.”
He added that the former leadership had run down the cooperatives and affected production system of the farmer’s union and there is little hope that it will be recovered.
Donata Uzamukunda, a member of one of the rice cooperatives fears that farmers may have to pay for the losses incurred by the previous management unless someone intervenes.
“Why can’t the government freeze their assets which they clearly acquired through corruption?” asked Uzamukunda. “Some have started selling their ill gotten assets.”
Members of the cooperatives allege the suspects own fleets of cars, houses and farms “The government should seize their property until the trial ends otherwise they won’t pay a single coin,” Uzamukunda said.