RWAMAGANA - The water and power utility company, RECO-RWASCO is demanding over Rwf 17 million from a clean water cooperative in Rwamagana district known by its French acronym as COOGIEP.
According to Bosco Karenzi, the RECO-RWASCO Revenue Recovery Officer, the money accumulated since 2008.
The official said the clients, paid COOGIEP money for the water they used, but its officials embezzled it all.
It is understood that such cooperatives are allowed to be connected to the water firm at subsidised charges. They are allowed to sell the water to the local population in rural areas.
Sources said the cooperatives’ chairman, Fidele Uhoraningoga and Bonaventure Ndagijimana, an accountant, were last week arrested and briefly detained at Nzinge Police Station over the debt.
Police confirmed the arrest.
“COOGIEP last paid us in 2008, yet the local population continued paying them. We want them to pay us…those responsible were arrested and detained in connection with the long standing debt , but I am surprised they were later
released,” Karenzi said.
The accused however, disputed the amount being demanded as outstanding debt, saying the figure was inflated.
“We owe them only Rwf 11million. Our accountants disappeared with over Rwf 6 million ,” Uhoraningonga said in a letter he wrote to RECO-RWASCO recently.
“We request all of you to help us to track them [accountants].”
The cooperative operates in the sectors of Nzige, Karenge, Gahengeri, Nyakarilo and Muyumbu, Rwamagana district.
Residents in these sectors are crying fowl as RECO-RWASCO has started cutting water supply in their areas due to the unpaid bills.
“We pay COOGIEP every month. It is great injustice if our water supply is cut,” said Richard Kanamugire, a resident in one of the sectors affected.
“RECO-RWASCO should deal with the cooperative and leave us with the water because water is a vital public good.”