PAC wants RAB officials investigated

The director-general of Rwanda Agriculture Board, Dr Patrick Karangwa adresses members of the PAC as and his deputy Solange Uwituze takes notes yesterday at the Parliamentary Buildings in Kimihurura. Craish Bahizi.

A Parliamentary committee has called for an investigation into the circumstances in which Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) issued tenders that had not been planned for.

Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is currently analysing the 2017/2018 Auditor General’s report, which revealed that the agriculture board issued tenders worth Rwf1.4 billion without consulting Rwanda Public Procurement Authority, as required by the law.

The MPs said on Tuesday that this raised suspicion of potential fraud.

“This institution has received adverse opinion from the Auditor General for several years. This means that they violated laws,” Jean Chrysostome Ngabitsinze, the Chairperson of PAC said.

An adverse audit opinion is a red flag that is given by an auditor when financial statements are found significantly different from generally accepted accounting principles.

PAC’s own investigation, Ngabitsinze said, showed that despite the irregularities the RAB official in charge of procurement scored 85 per cent and 71 per cent in performance appraisals for the 2017 and 2018 years respectively.

“This is insensitive considering that Rwandans expect RAB to deliver on its mandate,” the PAC chairperson said, calling for the resignation of the officials who were responsible.

The tenders in question include the construction of Nasho Irrigation Scheme Protection project phase one, supply and installation of a dairy plant, supply and installation of  nine solar-powered boles for Gako beef project, construction of reservoir at Mulindi for Horticulture Centre of Excellence, as well as rehabilitation of Rwanda-Israel Horticulture Centre of Excellence at Mulindi.

MP Jeanne d’Arc Uwimanimpaye disclosed that tenders worth nearly Rwf5 billion were not offered as planned. Others were not executed as planned while many were also terminated midway.

PAC also raised questions over a planned Rwf1.9 billion tender whose value increased by 116 per cent yet there was no budget to cater for it.

This was done without consulting the procurement authority.

IPAC accused RAB of lacking proper action plan which affects budget planning, cash flows plan, as well as procurement.

“According to procurement laws, the tender committee may reject all bids if prices offered are higher than the available budge or if all bids are considered substantially non-responsive. But what we see is contrary to this law,” MP Jeanne d’Arc Uwimanimpaye

Dr Patrick Karangwa, the Director-General of RAB, explained that the issue of unplanned tenders that were offered was triggered by emergencies but admitted the mistake of not consulting the public procurement authority.

“The issue of spending more than planned was caused by not conducting market intelligence. We have since hired more finance specialists and internal auditors to give us warning even before Auditor General comes,” he explained.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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