The Deputy Auditor General, Obadiah Biraro, Wednesday presented his office’s report to members of both chambers of Parliament, detailing how a cross-section of civil servants involved in issuing cheques had learnt new and sophisticated ways of swindling the government of millions of francs almost without being detected.
“While compiling this report, we realised that 2008 was characterised by high class embezzlement and sophisticated methods are being employed to swindle money, to a point that it would be difficult to know how it’s done unless you dig deeper. Most of the contents are catastrophic” he said
Biraro said that his office had made great strides in rooting out such cases and with more capacity, a lot more could be attained.
“We started presenting these reports in 2003 and could at that time only audit 46 institutions as compared to the 110 that we audited last year,” he said
Biraro, who said that his office loses around 15 employees every year, told the members of both chambers as that the money lost by government had reduced compared to 2007.
“Expenditures without supporting documents improved and dropped from Rfw 6.5 billion to Rfw 4.4 billion, and this means that the law is being respected in some cases,” he said
This did not go down well with MP Aimable Nibishaka who said that those statistics didn’t mean anything.
“This is really catastrophic. So now because we lost Rfw 4.4 billion as compared to the Rfw 6.5 billion, is need for applause? I have heard some people blame this on lack of capacity building, but even those we are training are becoming sophisticated thieves.Why don’t we instead look for ways to root out these problems that seem to be recurring?,” he suggested
A visibly angry MP Mukama Abbas said that there was need for a Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that would do follow-ups on the recommendations from the report and raise the necessary questions.
“Honourables, I do not even know where to start. Where is the followup on the recommendations we did from the past reports? Why are we not doing our jobs? What are we fearing? Where is our patriotism? As an institution that does advocacy, let us do our jobs, let history not judge us for keeping quite,” he said
MP Henriette Mukamurangwa wondered why the Auditor General’s Office insisted that most of the money can never be recovered.
“It indeed is a catastrophy. The deputy Auditor,while presenting this report, continued to emphasise how large sums of this embezzled money can never be recovered. Why? Don’t these embezzlers have property? The idea of them getting away with this crime worries me a lot,” she said
The discussions continue today.