Government sacks FARG leaders

KIGALI - The office of the Prime Minister Tuesday suspended officials of the Fund for Support of Genocide Survivors (FARG) including all members of its Board of Administration and four top managers.
L-R: TAKES OVER: Eugene Barikana, SACKED: Karekezi.
L-R: TAKES OVER: Eugene Barikana, SACKED: Karekezi.

KIGALI - The office of the Prime Minister Tuesday suspended officials of the Fund for Support of Genocide Survivors (FARG) including all members of its Board of Administration and four top managers.

A press release from the Prime Minister’s office named the FARG officials who were removed from their posts as the Executive Secretary, Jean Marie Vianney Karekezi, the Director of Administration and Finance (DAF), Sylvain Nsabimana, the Programmes Officer, Jean Marie Rwagatare, and the Director of ICT, Janvier Ngabo. No reason was given in the statement for their suspensions.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Governance (MINALOC), Eugene Barikana was appointed as FARG’s interim Executive Secretary and David Nkusi as the fund’s interim DAF.

Barikana told The New Times yesterday that he was going to report for the new post though he claimed to have ‘no details’ on why the fund’s leaders were suspended.

“Starting from tomorrow (Thursday) I will be reporting to FARG as I was requested,” he said.

The suspension of FARG leaders has come amidst worries over the fund’s management being raised countrywide with both government officials and FARG managers accusing each other of being responsible for the irregularities that have characterized the fund since its establishment in 1998.

Though Barikana kept saying that he had no details on the reasons why FARG leaders were suspended, he seemed to also suspect that the worries on the fund’s management may have triggered the Prime Minister’s decision.

“They might be related though I don’t have details,” he said, adding that government might not have appreciated the job done by his predecessors.

The fired Karekezi had last week alleged that there were many local leaders hiding behind FARG committees, abusing their authority to illegally include some people on the list of beneficiaries. He accused the country’s government and judiciary of not taking enough measures to stop the practice.

But both the Minister of Local Government, Protais Musoni, and the Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga dismissed the accusations through the press.

Musoni invited the fund to examine its problems and its leaders’ role in the irregularities before blaming anyone while Ngoga said that FARG was not collaborating enough with the prosecution in order to bring suspects to book.

“There should not be blame-shifting, and counter-attacks. If FARG is failing handle its issues, they should not blame any other institution; prosecution and the police are willing to collaborate, but this can only succeed if there are leads provided by FARG,” the Prosecutor warned last week in an interview with The New Times.

Barikana said yesterday in a telephone interview that the hand-over between FARG’s appointed interim leaders and those who were suspended was going to take place last evening. Efforts to talk to Karekezi were fruitless by press time as he did not respond to our calls.

Government estimates that more than one third out of the 309,368 survivors of the 1994 genocide in the country need help. They are mainly those orphaned and widowed by the genocide who need funds for their schooling, shelter, and medical care among other needs.

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