Fear of corruption should be a culture, Minister Busingye

A cross section of officials in a panel discussion during the conference organised in line with anti-corruption week . Held on Saturday at Rwanda National Police General Headquarters, the meeting was under the theme ‘fighting corruption in service delivery’. Sam Ngendahimana.

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Johnston Busingye has said that the fear to solicit and give bribe should be made a culture founded on the commitment to “zero tolerance.”

The Minister made the remarks this Saturday while officiating at the conference held under the banner: ‘fighting corruption in service delivery’ held at the Rwanda National Police General Headquarters in Kacyiru.

The conference was organised in line with the anti-corruption week spearheaded by Office of Ombudsman, which started on December 4 under the theme: “Winning the fight against corruption towards sustainable development.”

The event was also in line with the International Day against Corruption marked every year on December 9.

Busingye observed that graft is most prevalent in service delivery and affects provision of quality services, adding that preventing it in this sector addresses almost 90 percent of the problem.

“Fighting corruption is not an option, it’s a duty set forth by national policy, which should be a day-to-day task. There are several legal instruments in place that were reviewed, which we should build on to sustain this campaign for 52 weeks, not just one week,” Busigye said.

Under the new law, corruption is imprescriptible.

He noted that graft is a setback in governance, denies or delays services to the citizenry.

The Justice Sector, the minister said, shouldn’t be the road to freedom for corrupt individuals but instead an example that creates fear for one to engage in all sorts of corruption.

“We will win this war by refusing to be corrupted, having the ownership to report the corrupt and building a stronger network against the vice,” the minister said.

The meeting was also attended by the State Minister in charge of Social Affairs, Alvera Mukabaramba and Inspector General of Police  (IGP) Dan Munyuza and the Prosecutor General, Jean Bosco Mutangana.

Others present were Deputy Ombudsmen; Clement Musangabatware in charge of preventing and fighting corruption, and Odette Yankurije in charge of fighting injustice.

It also attracted lawmakers, Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB), Governors and district mayors, Rwanda Public Procurement Authority (RPPA), National Human Rights Commission and Transparency International Rwanda (TI-Rw) among others.

Rwanda is ranked third least corrupt country in Africa after Botswana and Seychelles, and 48 globally, according to the 2017 Transparency International Corruption Perception Index.

IGP Munyuza said that Rwanda National Police has empowered its anti-corruption department to reinforce the zero tolerance policy on graft.

Between 2016 and 2017, a total of 205 police officers implicated in graft tendencies were dismissed from the force and 95 others so far this year. 200 people have also been arrested this year while attempting to bribe Police officers to acquire illegal services.

About 70 of those dismissed are commissioned officers.

At least 371 officers have been dismissed from the force over corruption since 2015 while 1024 civilians were also arrested in the same period while trying to bribe Police officers, according to statistics from police.

According to the TI-Rwanda 2017 report, corruption in Police decreased from 15.5 percent in 2016 to 8.1 percent in following year.

Munyuza said that the force has strengthened its efforts in fighting the vice both internally and externally.

Internally, he said, shifting to technological services has greatly contributed in addressing graft especially in traffic related services on the road, issuance of driver’s license and motor-vehicle mechanical inspections services.

“We look at fighting corruption as also one way of preventing road accidents; when you give a driver’s license to a person who doesn’t know how to drive or has no idea on traffic rules, or give a mechanical certificate to a vehicle that is not roadworthy... that’s one way how corruption can lead to loss of lives,” the Police Chief said.

He also said that it’s a loss to the government to invest in training Police officers and one ends up being dismissed from the force over corruption.

The conference was partly organized to enhance engagement, inclusiveness and raise awareness against graft.

It was also characterized by awarding the best performing districts in fighting corruption and injustices.

Kirehe trounced others followed by Gatsibo and Nyamasheke while Kayonza and Rulindo, in that order, complete the list of top five performers.