Water utility comes under scrutiny over AG’s report

Aimé Muzola, CEO of WASAC, addresses the Senate about the Auditor General’s report as Dr. Omar Munyaneza, WASAC Board Chairperson, listens. / Nadège Imbabazi

There is need for stakeholders to join efforts to help Water and Sanitation Corporation (WASAC) which has for years been riddled with accountability issues to finally get into the Auditor General’s (AG) good books.

This appeal was made on Tuesday by the Auditor General Obadiah Biraro while addressing the Senatorial Standing Committee on Economics.

WASAC is one of the institutions that are currently undergoing an assessment by the senators to establish the reasons behind accounting and performance flaws as indicated by several reports by the Auditor General (AG).

Appearing before the committee to shed light on issues raised in his report, Biraro said that there was need to look into the human resource of WASAC, arguing that the issues on the company could be rooted in their attitude towards their duties.

“A clean audit is not something that you enter a shop and buy. It is something that you work hard for. I think WASAC staff need reviewing so that we can determine whether what we are dealing with is incompetence, recklessness, lack of accountability or indifference,” he said.

Among the issues highlighted by the AG are 19 water projects whose total contract amounted to Rwf20.1 billion, which faced several issues, including delay ranging between three months and over two years, and noncompliance of contractual terms leading to defects that cast doubt on the sustainability of the water supply systems.

Three of the 19 projects were about construction of 10 water tanks valued at Rwf1.2 billion, which were completed but no water supply, connected.

The Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning’s Chief Internal Auditor, Charles Kamuhire said that one of WASAC’s biggest challenges is understaffing, saying that there is need to build the institution’s human resource capacity.

He said that in the area of projects, there were still issues which were in the end delaying the process to distribute water to those who need it.

“There are many projects that were built without feasibility studies, others were approved without a budget and others were completed but their maintenance is an issue. This has resulted into water distribution delays or even abandoned projects. WASAC issues need to be fixed as soon as possible,” he said.

According to the AG’s report, Rwf3.9bn was spent without supporting documents.

Challenges

The CEO of WASAC; Aime Muzora told the commission that as an institution that goes through many transactions and operations, more than 70 percent of their issues stem from lack of a proper operating system and limited human resource.

“We are currently working on a new system because the one we have been using goes as far back as 2006 and has been upgraded thrice but it’s almost dysfunctional. With a system that works, we can cut down on our issues by 70 percent,” he said.

The Commission is set to revue Rwanda Development Board (RDB) today.

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