CEPEX boss arrested over Rwf 453m loss

• Case related to former  Infrastructure PS Vincent Gatwabuyenge who is still in police custody The Director General of the Central Public Investment and External Finance Bureau (CEPEX), George Katurebe, was last week arrested over mismanagement of public funds totalling to Rwf 453m, The New Times has learnt.
George Katurebe.
George Katurebe.

• Case related to former  Infrastructure PS Vincent Gatwabuyenge who is still in police custody

The Director General of the Central Public Investment and External Finance Bureau (CEPEX), George Katurebe, was last week arrested over mismanagement of public funds totalling to Rwf 453m, The New Times has learnt.

CEPEX is an institution under the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning that coordinates public investments.

The spokesperson of the National Public Prosecution Authority (NPPA), Augustin Nkusi, Tuesday, revealed that Katurebe is accused of complicity in exonerating STRABAG, a road-construction company, from paying a fine imposed against them by the government.

The government had signed a contract with STRABAG, a German company to construct the Kigali-Bugesera road specifying the exact period the construction would take.

Part of the contract specified a fine the company would face in the event that the agreed time elapsed before the construction is completed.

STRABAG failed to meet its contractual obligations which automatically meant that the construction company was liable to pay a fine totalling Rwf 453 million.

According to Nkusi, with the assistance of the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Infrastructure Vincent Gatwabuyenge, Katurebe exonerated STRABAG from paying the stipulated fine.

Gatwabuyenge is also in custody and has since been charged with embezzlement.

“The two are alleged of having brought a loss to the government which is punishable under article 17 and 18 of the Anti Corruption Law,” said Nkusi.

The Gasabo court of Higher Instance is expected to rule on Katurebe’s application of conditional release today. 

Gatwabuyenge, who features in Katurebe’s case, had earlier been denied bail by the same court and is also accused of having inappropriately allocated Rwf 1,7bn to STRABAG to construct site-centres on the Kigali-Bugesera road during the construction period.

Gatwabuyenge signed and authorised the release of the money to the company but the latter did not construct the centres.

STRABAG had claimed that it had done extra work on the construction of Kigali-Bugesera road which was not in the agreement signed with the government.

According to Nkusi, both the government and STRABAG had agreed to hire an intermediary who would determine how much extra money  the government was supposed to pay.

The agent from France recommended that the government pay STRABAG Euro 90,757 but instead Gatwabuyenge authorised that the company be paid Euro 226,893.

“He has since failed to justify why he authorised the paying of the extra money,” said Nkusi.

Gatwabuyenge is now on trial for his alleged role in mismanaging public funds and corruption charges.

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