EDITORIAL: Something needs to be done about the dormant Rwf 500M

During the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, victims not only lost their lives, but many others lost their property which was either looted or destroyed. To add insult to injury, young descendants of those who died suffered at the hands of their relatives who grabbed their property leaving the orphans out in the cold.

Over the years, there have been debates as to what banks were doing to track the rightful inheritors of dormant accounts. Honestly speaking, there was little sign that it was an issue that preoccupied them.

So it did not come as a surprise when the National Bank of Rwanda, the clearinghouse of the country’s financial institutions, announced that it was holding over Rwf 500 million in dormant accounts, most of which either belonged to dead people or those who had left the country.

What the central bank does not say is how it will return the money to rightful owners. For example, many were too young in 1994 to understand their parents’ financial particulars, going even as far as to the extent of their property holdings.

By now the Bank should have come up with a roadmap of how to return the money or what to do with it. It has the moral obligation to do more in attempting to dig for information about the accounts. Why can’t it publicise particulars of those bank accounts in the media?

It would be surprised by the number of people coming forward to claim some connection to the money. Otherwise, the money should not sit idle; why not deposit in the Agaciro Fund? At least it would serve some good there.