FEATURED: Towards Enforcement of Africa’s Commitments against Corruption: Rwanda to implement the AUCPCC.

The African Union Assembly of Heads of State has declared 2019 as the ‘African Year of Anti-Corruption’ with the theme “Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation.”  It is against this background that TI Chapters in Africa came together to contribute to the civil society efforts to rally behind this call and achieve this goal of the African Union, through an engagement with Africa’s main anti-corruption treaty, the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption (AUCPCC).

From September 2018 to 7th January, 2019, TI-Rwanda also conducted a study to analyse the implementation of the AUCPCC in Rwanda. The study focused on the criminalization of money laundering, illicit enrichment, the regulation of political organisations’ funding and the participation of civil society and media.The African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption (AUCPCC) was adopted in Maputo on 11 July 2003, entered into force on August 05, 2006 to fight rampant political corruption on the African continent.Rwanda ratified the AUCPCC on 25/06/2004. Thereafter, Rwanda has enacted different laws to implement this convention. For examplethe law n° 54/2018 of 13/08/2018 on the fighting against corruption,the Law nº69/2018 of 31/08/2018 on prevention and punishment of money laundering and terrorism financing,   the Organic Law n°10/2013/0L of 11/07/2013 governing Political Organizations and Politicians as modified up to date, Law no 04/2003 of 08/02/2013 relating to access to information and so many others. However, all those laws do not mention whether they have been adopted in the context of the AUCPCC even though they contain the provisions which align with the AUCPCC.

In sum, good laws on money laundering and illicit enrichment have been enacted. There is also a political will to prevent and prosecute money laundering and many institutions have been established to prevent and prosecute money laundering. However, there are still difficulties in gathering the evidence because of the nature of the crime of money laundering. For example, the established institutions are still facing challenged in detecting money laundering practices, tracing the origin of suspicious transactions, etc. Thus, their skills are still limited compared to the technicalities that are used in the commission of the crime of money laundering and illicit enrichment.

Or the funding of political parties, in Rwanda, the Organic Law n°10/2013/0L of 11/07/2013  governing Political Organizations and Politicians as modified up to date  regulates the funding of political parties by specifying the sources of funding and  incorporating the principles of transparency into the funding of political organisations.

Article 23 of the law on political organisations enumerates the sources of the property of the political organization such as in the form of contributions from its members, donations and bequests, its activities and State grants. In order to ensure transparency into the funding of political organisations and politicians, the laws require them to keep their books of accounts and the control of those books by the Office of the Ombudsman, in collaboration with Rwanda Governance Board. The research found out those political parties submits the reports regularly and the authorities check and sanction where appropriate. For example, Rwanda Governance Board has published a Rwanda Governance scorecard report which indicates that political parties financial accountability scored 100%.

However, political organisations or politicians are not allowed to receive donations and bequests granted by foreigners, foreign States, non-governmental organisations, faith-based organisations, foreign business companies or industries, and organisations owned by foreigners or in which foreigners are shareholders. Furthermore, it is prohibited to a political organization or a politician to give or receive contributions, donations and bequests that are likely to undermine the independence and integrity of the Country. However, the law on political parties does not determine the fate of illegally obtained money. Is it seized? confiscated? How is it used?

It was also found out that the Government institutions recognise the work of civil society. For example, the work of the TI-Rwanda is recognised in the National Leadership Retreat; the Legal Aid Form and Rwanda Investigation Bureau are partnering to improve service delivery in the criminal justice system by implementing the principles of human rights; the Legal Aid Form organises the Legal Aid Week in partnership with the Ministry of Justice and Rwanda Bar Association.

he research found out that the Civil society and media are involved in government’s activities in different ways. For example, the civil society and media publish the reports on the government activities without any problems, they are invited in government meetings and vice-versa. Recommendations from the civil society are taken into account and implemented by the government. The Law no 04/2003 of 08/02/2013 relating to access to information has also been enacted to allow the media to obtain the information from the public institutions.

Moreover, the Civil Society and media in Rwanda are given access to information in cases of corruption and related offenses and the dissemination of such information does not adversely affect the investigation process and the rights to a fair trial.  Government institutions in Rwanda cooperate with civil society and media. Transparency International Rwanda publishes reports on corruption such as Rwanda Bribery Index (see TI-RW Website) whereby the index ranks institutions most prone to corruption and the prevalence of bribe.  This index is an annual survey that was established since 2010. High officials are invited to the restitution of the index findings and they are very supportive in terms of the implementation of the survey recommendations. Journalists are also invited to disseminate the findings on corruption.