REB under fire over stalled ICT, career guidance projects

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has criticised the Rwanda Education Board (REB) for a stalled $7.7 million (about Rwf7 billion) digital content project for primary and secondary schools.

It also quizzed REB for spending over Rwf557 million on the pilot phase of the career guidance system project, but the project was not able to roll out.

 

REB officials were on Tuesday, September 15, 2020 providing explanations to PAC for mismanagement cases identified while PAC was scrutinising the Auditor General's report of the year 2018/2019.

 

The tender for digital content provision in secondary schools was awarded to Hicommands Pvt Limited – a subsidiary of Hicommands Tech India Limited – to develop a system to supply and install digital content in school computers and other readable materials.

 

But, that digital project hit the snag. REB Director-General, Irénée Ndayambaje, told PAC members that the bidder failed to do the job that was required.

But, he said that the company lodged a case in court claiming that it did some of the works about the project.

MPs voiced concern that REB has not even been able to recover Rwf324 million performance security on the stalled ICT project thus far.

“That is a lot of money. Who is liable for such a loss,” asked MP MP Jeanne d’Arc Uwimanimpaye.

Ndayambaje said that REB wrote twice to the insurance company – Radiant insurance Ltd – requesting the guarantee, but it has not yet allowed the education institution access to it.

The law of 2018 governing public procurement stipulates in its article 64 that in case the contract is not fully or well executed, the performance security must unconditionally be seized by the procuring entity as compensation without prejudice to other penalties provided for by laws.

The bank or authorised financial institution must give to the procuring entity all the amount of the performance security upon claim by the latter within 10 working days from the receipt of such a claim.

Where the bank or the financial institution hampers the process of seizure of the security, the Rwanda Public Procurement Authority requires the procuring entities to turn down securities from such institutions for a period of two years.

For the career guidance system, MPs questioned its value for money, and wanted to know whether Rwanda got any benefit from it, or whether it became a loss.

Ndayambaje said that the system started as a pilot project but its rollout was hindered after the Rwanda Public Procurement Authority (RPPA) indicated that no feasibility was done before undertaking the project.

Another reason is that the tender was awarded through single sourcing, yet RPPA said there was no proof that the contractor was the only person having such a system worldwide.

The system, Ndayambaje said, listed a number of questions that a person should answer, and it suggested what they would become in the future – such as an engineer, or nurse. But, he said, it lacked the 'so what' element.

He said that what REB did is to develop a career guidance and counseling approach to consider what would be done next later for a person to achieve their future line of business.

More than 400 stolen computers

PAC also wanted to know the progress on the recovery of 463 computers worth Rwf100 million that were stolen from schools as shown by the 2018/2019 report of the Auditor General.

Regarding the stolen computers, REB said that 58 of them have been recovered. It told PAC that there are still some cases in courts about the stolen computers.

entirenganya@newtimesrwanda.com

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