Public funds abused, says NPPA

Investigators from the National Public Prosecutor Authority (NPPA) reveal that State funds in several public offices were mismanaged in 2005/6 financial year.

Investigators from the National Public Prosecutor Authority (NPPA) reveal that State funds in several public offices were mismanaged in 2005/6 financial year.

A nine-man probe team set up by the Prosecutor General’s office is tasked to investigate and ascertain whether government officials abused tax payers’ money as indicated in the 2005/6 Auditor General’s report.

The Auditor General’s annual reports give an analytical picture of how State institutions spent the taxpayers’ money. The probe team will soon release its findings.

“Some findings so far indicate that public funds were mismanaged by some officials,” Augustin Nkusi, the NPPA spokesperson said without mentioning names.

“It is still early to divulge details to the media. But those found culpable will of course pay heavily.” Nkusi warned on Friday in an exclusive interview at his office in Kimihurura.

He added that the probe team cannot ascertain whether money was put to good use because in some offices visited so far, there are no supporting documents and financial statements to back up the expenditures.

The Auditor General’s report indicates that 108 different public offices could not satisfactorily explain how they spent public funds by the time the audit was carried out.

Out of 108, the probe team has so far screened 63 institutions. In some of the institutions already covered, their books do not add up.

“The picture on the ground is not good,” Nkusi said. Public offices include ministries, institutions and projects attached to certain ministries across the country.

“The files of 63 institutions are in the final stages. What I can say is that the investigations have implicated people,” he said, adding that the government is to bring to book public entities and officials responsible for mismanaging the funds.

The wide-ranging investigation, Nkusi revealed discovered that some embassies mismanaged public funds. According to the probe team, officials at Rwandan missions in Washington and Pretoria-South Africa failed to explain how the money was spent.

Between December 31, 2005 to December 31, 2006, the embassy in Washington reportedly used over Rwf49million but there are no backing documents to show how the money was spent.

And over Rwf31million in the same period had documents but were not adequate to convince the audit team. The documents are lacking.

In South Africa, the Rwandan embassy, according to investigators used Rwf88million but there are no documents to show accountability.

Over Rwf121million in the same period had been used but the embassy lacked adequate documents to convince the probe team.

About Rwf86million had been spent on Rwandans who traveled to South Africa between 2005 and 2006 seeking medical treatment but names of patients allegedly treated are not traceable.

Nkusi also revealed that over Rwf 22million was reportedly given to students studying in SA. However, the probe team discovered that the money continued to be spent even after the students completed their studies. 

According to the 2006 Auditor General report, a whopping Frw5.3b of state finances were unaccounted for. The report revealed that most of the money was lost through illegal tendering procedures.

“We are still analyzing it before action is taken,” Nkusi said.

Earlier reports stated that tenders worth Frw3.8b were not sanctioned by the National Tender Board, while other tenders worth Frw7.85b had no justifications for being awarded by Internal Tender Committees (ITCs).

Other institutions named by AG report where money was embezzled include the Students Financing Agency for Rwanda (SFAR) where Frw96m was stolen and the University Hospital of Kigali (CHUK).

Last year, several public institution officials were summoned to the Prosecutor General’s office in connection with financial irregularities unearthed by Kamagaju’s office.

Parliament had previously raised concerns that if tough action was not taken, this might frustrate the country’s anti-graft efforts.

Prosecution General Martin Ngoga has previously said political will to fight corruption from the top was high but added it’s a community’s responsibility to help anti-graft bodies to end the vice.

Ends

 

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