Rwandair hit by financial losses

•Lost Rwf228 million on Darfur deal, Rwf 56m uniform tender KIGALI - An internal disagreement on the procurement procedures in Rwandair, the country’s national carrier, is setting a stage for controversy with some employees alleging a tender to purchase staff uniforms was messed up, The New Times can reveal.
CONFIRMED: Gerald Zirimwagabo
CONFIRMED: Gerald Zirimwagabo

•Lost Rwf228 million on Darfur deal, Rwf 56m uniform tender

KIGALI - An internal disagreement on the procurement procedures in Rwandair, the country’s national carrier, is setting a stage for controversy with some employees alleging a tender to purchase staff uniforms was messed up, The New Times can reveal.

Sources in Rwandair say that procurement department is marred with irregularities and employees who point out the mess often fall in problems.

They cited a case last year involving a deal approved by Rwandair procurement department to acquire new staff uniforms that went sour.

According to a source, the uniforms were delivered towards the end of 2009 at a cost of US$100,000 (Rwf56.8m).
When they arrived, the employees were ordered not to wear them but instead donate them to the needy since they were of poor quality.

“The management has decided to purchase now new uniforms, but remember we have already lost money,” the source added. He wants an independent probe team to investigate the matter and discipline the culprits. 

It is reported that last year, under unclear circumstances, Rwandair hired the services of Francine Sharangabo as a Sales Manager and to also head the re-branding committee.

Apart from the bungled uniform tender issue, our sources also allege that Rwandair awarded a deal to an airline known as Sun Air to transport soldiers to and from Darfur, which the Ministry of Defence (MINADEF) had awarded Rwandair.

MINADEF paid Rwandair for the flights. Then Rwandair sub-contracted Sun Air to conduct the flights.

But after just four flights, the airline simply disappeared yet Rwandair had already paid in advance since it was a wet-lease arrangement. Rwandair had to refund MINADEF about US$400,000 (approx. Rwf 228 million)

When contacted yesterday, Rwandair’s procurement manager Jimmy Musoni said nothing went wrong in his office.

“What I can confirm to you is that everything went well. There was no mess and we are in the process of buying new uniforms,” Musoni said by phone.

Surprisingly, Rwandair Chief Executive Officer Gerald Zirimwagabo confirmed that the procurement procedure didn’t go well. He said the process was flouted.

“There were some mistakes and an audit is being done,” Zirimwabagabo said. Of course we lost some money because of this mess.”

On the Sun Air issue, Zirimwabagabo admitted that they had been cheated, but that Rwandair was in the process of recovering the money.

“We are still negotiating with Sun Air to see that we are refunded. If they refuse, we shall take them to court,” Zirimwagabo said.

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