The Fund for Support to Genocide Survivors (FARG) has embarked on recovering back funds meant for financing income-generating projects that were not used for the intended purpose.
FARG Director General, Julienne Uwacu made the disclosure on Wednesday, September 23, 2020 during a virtual session in which FARG officials were responding to asset mismanagement cases identified by the Auditor General’s 2018/2019 report.
Basing on the report, PAC asked FARG why there is absence of information on the current status of funds meant for financing the projects to support the neediest survivors.
The AG report indicated that FARG made transfers of more than Rwf1 billion to 1,065 associations through sectors across the country to finance different Income Generating Activities (IGAs) projects.
In absence of information on the current status of disbursed funds to finance projects, the use of funds for intended purpose may not be confirmed, according to the report.
Uwacu replied that a large part of such funds was put to good use by beneficiaries.
However, she said that Rwf360 million that the Fund had sent to districts so that they help vulnerable genocide survivors to carry out income-generating activities through associations were not used for the intended purpose.
In partnership with districts, Uwacu said, FARG made the list of the associations in question, and sought help from Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) so that it investigates the case of the people who misused the funds they were given so that they return it, “but also those who committed offenses punishable by the law be held accountable.”
She said that there are some local government leaders, especially at sector level, who were convicted of the misappropriation of the funds and they gave the money back, pointing out that such cases were identified in 10 districts across the country.
So far, she told PAC, about Rwf60 million has already been recovered.
“There are instances where it was realised that some of the local leaders at sector level presented themselves as the members of associations and they requested credit, or they were part in disbursing the money to the association leaders’ account instead of the account of the association,” she said.
The beneficiaries, she indicated, had signed an agreement with FARG that they would implement profitable projects that they had presented.
“However, it was observed that there are some beneficiaries who did not use the money to execute the projects they had shown, rather they used it to meet their needs, or shared it,” she said.
She said that after the issue was identified, FARG worked with sectors and districts, and they started requesting the associations in question to return the money so that it is put on sectors’ accounts.
After such an exercise, she said, they will start appraising the projects of new associations which are ready and have effective work plans so that they are given the money.
MPs told FARG to make a report on how the money was disbursed, the amount embezzled or misused, and that already recovered.
“As the money is being recovered, it will remain in sectors so that they support the associations of the neediest [genocide survivors]. We need to know new strategies so that such fund mismanagement cases are completely addressed,” MP Mediatrice Izabiliza said, pointing out that the issue has been persisting for long.
Uwacu said that, going forward, the emphasis will be put on thorough project assessment to ascertain viability, as well as monitoring and evaluation in partnership with local government entities.
“We will put more efforts in monitoring because when money is given for the execution of a project, yet there is no follow up on a project for say two years, that’s not effective,” she said, arguing that such a situation might make some beneficiaries divert the intended funds use.Follow https://twitter.com/EmNtirenganya