65 arrested over stolen construction materials

•Equipment meant to build houses for the needy At least 65 people from different parts of the country have been arrested in connection to theft of construction materials for houses meant for vulnerable citizens.
Prosecution spokesperson Augustin Nkusi during the interview yesterday. (Photo/ E. Kwibuka).
Prosecution spokesperson Augustin Nkusi during the interview yesterday. (Photo/ E. Kwibuka).

•Equipment meant to build houses for the needy

At least 65 people from different parts of the country have been arrested in connection to theft of construction materials for houses meant for vulnerable citizens.

This was revealed yesterday by the spokesperson of the National Public Prosecutions Authority (NPPA) during an interview at his office.

The materials were distributed by government last year in an effort to build shelters for the needy.

The arrests are the result of an ongoing evaluation that government is conducting countrywide to assess how an initiative that was launched early 2008 has been implemented.

Most of the construction works were carried out under the supervision of local authorities and man-power was provided by the population on the grassroots level while construction materials were provided by government.

“What is clear from the ongoing evaluation is that some of the materials were stolen and the prosecution is now pursuing whoever is involved,” said the Prosecution spokesperson, Augustin Nkusi.

The materials included iron sheets, cement, and nails. Government had distributed them through the Ministry of Local Governance and Social Affairs (MINALOC) and the genocide survivors’ fund (FARG).

The plan intended to ensure that thousands of homeless people, especially survivors of the 1994 genocide against Tutsis, get shelter by at least April last year.

The irregularities are now unfolding following the assessment that was mainly aimed at ensuring whether the bonafide beneficiaries got the houses they were entitled to.

“Every time you set up a programme, it is very important that you evaluate,” said MINALOC Minister, Protais Musoni, referring to the assessment which indeed found some intended beneficiaries had not got the facilities.

Neither the minister nor the Prosecution spokesperson revealed details on the quantity of what was stolen or the completion report of the construction works.

According to both officials, facts will be availed after completion of the evaluation that is still being carried out by officials from MINALOC.

“The investigations are still going on and anyone involved in any way will be held accountable,” Nkusi said.

The suspects held in custody are from nine districts that include Muhanga, Rubavu, Musanze, Nyamagabe, Huye, Ngoma, Nyagatare, Gasabo, and Bugesera. They include both ordinary citizens and civil servants on District, Sector and Cell levels. 

According to Nkusi, the civil servants will be tried in ordinary courts for embezzlement while the rest will be tried by local conciliatory judges, Abunzi, to try and recover what they stole.

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