Ministry sacks employees over suspicious wealth

Net widens as Ombudsman’s office targets corrupt civil servants KIGALI - The Ministry of Internal Affairs has sacked eight employees after they had failed to explain how they accumulated their wealth, The NewTimes has learnt.
MININTER PS Penelope Kantarama.
MININTER PS Penelope Kantarama.

Net widens as Ombudsman’s office targets corrupt civil servants

KIGALI - The Ministry of Internal Affairs has sacked eight employees after they had failed to explain how they accumulated their wealth, The NewTimes has learnt.

This was confirmed by Penelope Kantarama, the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, when contacted yesterday.

“Yes, we sacked them,” Kantarama said by phone, adding that the office of Ombudsman had implicated eleven employees but three had already left the ministry.

The sacked employees, according to a reliable ministry source had been under investigation after it emerged that they had accumulated wealth way beyond their earnings.

The New Times could not readily obtain the names of those sacked by press time, but they include the directors of Ruhengeri and Gikongoro prisons. Others are accountants and storekeepers.   

The source said the officials were sacked after a report from the office of the Ombudsman implicated them. Recently, the office of Ombudsman asked government institutions to discipline their employees suspected of dipping their fingers into public funds.

Statistics from Ombudsman indicate that out of 4,929 government employees, 4,478 complied with the 2004 law that requires leaders to declare their wealth.

During the declaration exercise last year, it was discovered that some employees had accumulated wealth beyond their means.

Cases of those who under-declared their assets or employees whose wealth did not match their earnings were forwarded to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

“We are investigating these allegations,” CID boss Christopher Bizimungu said yesterday on phone.

Leaders are required by law to submit their annual declaration of income, assets and liabilities for verification by June 30. Any leader who fails to declare his/her wealth without any reasonable cause breaches the law and the penalty is huge.

The Ombudsman ordered leaders at national and district level to submit their wealth details in time. Following the wealth declaration exercise mid last year, the Ombudsman launched investigations to check whether the amounts declared reflect the reality on the ground.

However, upon crosschecking, investigators discovered that some employees were rich beyond their earnings.

“We have contacted various government institutions recommending their interdiction until they are cleared. There is no room for corrupt people,” Rutaremara revealed in an earlier interview, adding “People must be honest and transparent.”

He said he had written to most of the government institutions. A source from said a report from the Ombudsman had implicated two employees.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service and Labour (Mifotra) Marceline Mukamurangwa, said she needed time to verify the matter but confirmed the report had implicated some people.

“I am on leave and I cannot give you the names,” Mukamurangwa said recently on phone. Written declarations are supposed to be submitted on June, 30 every year as a strategy to fight corruption.

The 2004 wealth declaration law requires specified government officials to declare their incomes, assets, and liabilities, and those of their spouses, children and dependants.

Land, cars, houses and cash are some of the wealth indicators.

“We check and investigate the origin of assets and at times we do this with the help of other institutions to unearth the scam or those who under declare their wealth,” a source at the Ombudsman’s office said.

It added that some officials had built expensive houses and bought cars but could not satisfactorily explain where they got the money.

Penalties for accumulated wealth beyond the employee’s earning include dismissal and loss or forfeiture of assets among others.

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