STRABAG officials under probe

Officials of the German road construction company, STRABAG, are being investigated for allegedly conspiring with government officials in one of the country’s biggest financial scam.

Officials of the German road construction company, STRABAG, are being investigated for allegedly conspiring with government officials in one of the country’s biggest financial scam.

This following the arrest of several government officials , including the former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Infrastructure, Vincent Gatwabuyenge, and  George Katurebe, the Director General of Central Public Investment and External Finance Bureau (CEPEX) for allegedly facilitating STRABAG to dodge a fine they were supposed to pay.

The spokesperson of the National Public Prosecutions Authority (NPPA), Augustin Nkusi yesterday revealed that the investigations would put to light the role of STRABAG in failing to pay the fine.

“As soon as the report is ready, it will be submitted to the authorities responsible for awarding tenders to establish how the international company would be punished accordingly,” Nkusi said by telephone.

The fine was supposed to be paid because of the construction company’s failure to fulfill what had been agreed upon in an agreement they signed with the government to construct the Kigali-Bugesera-Kanyaru highway.

The agreement specified the exact period the construction works would take and failure to beat the deadline meant that a fine of Rfw453m was to be paid.

Meanwhile, Nkusi downplayed claims that officials of STRABAG, an international company, were receiving special treatment because of their status.

“I want to make it clear that whether the officials have immunity or not, appropriate action will be taken and justice would prevail,” he said.

STRABAG had earlier claimed that they had done extra work on the road which was not specified in the agreement signed with the government.

An estimated Rwf 1.7 billion  was lost by the government in the deal.

Infrastructure Minister Linda Bihire confirmed that action would be taken as soon as the report from prosecution is out but could not speculate any likely action.

“The matter is still in the prosecutor’s office and I am not in position to comment until I see their final report,” Bihire said by telephone.

The government of Rwanda has recently stepped up the fight against corrupt officials.

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