The National Public Prosecution Authority (NPPA) has said it will approach Spanish authorities to try to recover more than half a million dollars meant to cover the tuition of 14 Rwandan students in Nigeria.
NPPA spokesperson Faustin Nkusi said preliminary investigation show that the money was diverted to a bank account in Spain.
The $516,397 (about Rwf407 million) was meant to be sent to American University of Nigeria’s account to facilitate tuition for various students, but the university reported that it did not receive the money.
The incident occurred in 2014, according to the Rwanda Education Board (REB).
REB director-general Ismael Janvier Gasana told The New Times last week that when the problem occurred, they immediately reported the issue to the Prosecution and Interpol asking for support.
“It is not an easy work, this is cybercrime, and, in fact, difficult to investigate. You have to pursue, identify the suspects, the process of the crime; and answer questions such as, ‘does that bank exist in Spain’? ‘Who is the owner’”? Nkusi said.
He said NPPA officials met their Spanish counterparts in June on a different mission, but when the issue of the missing funds was mentioned, Spanish authorities showed willingness to coorperate in tracing the money.
“We will have to file all the necessary documents to help in the investigation,” Nkusi told The New Times.
Payment and money transfer system
Gasana said, previously, REB sent tuition for Diaspora students to universities or embassies through the central bank.
“Currently, we send the money to the Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD) and it sends it to all the countries where our students study by working with our embassies which deposit the money on the students’ accounts,” he said.
“BRD continues to follow up to ensure that there are no hackers who can divert the money,” he said.
Gasana noted that the students in question continued to be helped and got their scholarships as usual despite the incident.
“The students should not be victims. They were helped to pursue their studies as the crime continued to be investigated by concerned organs,” he noted.
Since the start of academic year 2015, the tuition and living allowances scheme for university students has been run by BRD.