NYAGATARE - The former Mayor of Gatsibo district, Jean Marie Vianney Murego, who is battling charges of flouting tendering procedures, has denied that he contravened public procurement laws by sanctioning a 40% advance payment for the construction company which had won the tender to construct Kabarore Health Centre.
Appearing before Nyagatare Intermediary Court last week, Murego said the donor, Plan International Rwanda, directed the district to advance the payment for immediate construction of the health centre.
The former Mayor appeared together with five other co accused.
“It was not my own making but Plan Rwanda country director directed us to sign the 40% advance, saying that in other countries they even sign up to 80% advance to push their works. He wrote to the governor and copied the letter to me,” he said.
Earlier, the prosecutor said Murego knowingly violated laws by sanctioning the payment of Rwf 408, 149,890 that was beyond normal procedures.
He also faulted Murego for signing documents which were supposed to be signed by the district Executive Secretary.
“He violated the laws by signing instead of the district executive secretary as was the normal procedure. As the head of the district such improper acts constitutes what amounts to crime that is punishable by law,” said the prosecutor.
However, Murego, who was accompanied by his lawyer, argued that Plan Rwanda could not as a donor honour any agreement signed by the district executive secretary.
Hearing of the case is set for November 12.
Murego and his former deputy in charge of Economic Affairs, Bassa Rwemalika were arrested in July this year, over the tender scam. Rwemalika was later released on bail.
It is alleged that in May 2008, the governor of Eastern Province, Dr. Ephraim Kabayija visited the health centre and directed the district to stop the construction process, after officials from Rwanda Construct Limited which was contracted as the project supervisor, questioned the construction standards by the contractor.