The Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) has tightened its measures in fighting corruption by partnering with other government bodies with the same cause.
“Corruption affects the country’s revenues as taxpayers in collaboration with RRA staff try to pay less than what they are expected to pay. Last year we sacked at least 19 officers charged with corruption cases and mishandling of taxpayers,” Mary Baine, the RRA Commissioner General said in an interview.
In relation to the corruption cases, she also noted that some people have already been brought to court to answer charges adding that the fight has to be continuous and constant.
According to officials, the institution’s main mandate is to get rid of corruption and corrupt tendencies, which has been clearly stipulated in the tax administration’s code of conduct.
The code of ethics outlines disciplinary procedures, proceedings and related applicable sanctions. The organisation’s code of conduct and disciplinary procedures categorize crimes and indiscipline cases into three categories which are; minor, serious and misconducts.
To strengthen the fight, the officials say, RRA ranks charges of corruption and embezzlement of government funds as a gross misconduct and attaches severe punishments like dismissal and imprisonment once found guilty.
“The authority set up stringent measures to ensure that employees who indulge in corruption and embezzlement activities are monitored and severely punished,” Peter Ruyumbu, the RRA Commissioner for Quality Assurance reiterated.
Ruyumbu also revealed that wealth declaration is done annually by all employees to ensure that they publicly account for their wealth.
“Any unexplained increase in wealth or attempt to conceal unexplainable wealth is considered a gross misconduct,” he stressed.
Citing that RRA staff act as watchdogs for one another, Ruyumbu also noted that staff members who have reasonable grounds for believing that another member of staff is involved in bribery and corruption or theft reports the matter to the department in charge.
Recently, President Paul Kagame attributed the low level of corruption in Rwanda to the tough stance the Government has taken on the issue.
“We have been very intolerant to corruption, right from the beginning. Corruption can destroy the economy, the politics and indeed the whole image of the country. It also discourages investors and trade,” Kagame once said.
With reference to the above statement, Baine emphasises hash disciplinary measures in regard to offences related to corruption.
Sanctions accruing to cases categorised under gross misconduct in the authority include written warning, suspension from duty for three months with salary deprivation, demotion and dismissal.