Ex-NUR officials admit to financial errors

The Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) yesterday tasked officials of former National University of Rwanda (NUR), now University of Rwanda's College of Humanities, to explain the gross mis-postings in their books of account while at the helm of the institution.
L-R; Manasse Mbonye, Rubingisa and Ndushabandi before PAC yesterday. (John Mbanda)
L-R; Manasse Mbonye, Rubingisa and Ndushabandi before PAC yesterday. (John Mbanda)

The Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) yesterday tasked officials of former National University of Rwanda (NUR), now University of Rwanda’s College of Humanities, to explain the gross mis-postings in their books of account while at the helm of the institution.

Among those that appeared before PAC was former NUR Vice Rector for Administration and Finance, Dr Desire Ndushabandi, who owned up to the mistakes.

Dr Ndushabandi told the Committee that he inherited much of the errors and by the end of Financial Year 2012/13, he had made significant progress in re-arranging NUR’s books of account.

The 2012/13 Auditor-General’s report faulted NUR for having about 20 mis-postings in their books of account, an issue PAC says is “extremely disturbing.”

NUR was also blamed for misappropriation of Rwf863 million and weaknesses in recovery of tuition fees as included in the financial statements under a students’ receivable account with a closing debit balance of Rwf3. 2 billion.

“During the initial audit, the AG had reported about 80 queries related to financial errors. We worked tirelessly and reduced them to 60 and I am convinced that even those remaining in the system will have to be corrected,” Ndushabandi said.

PAC chairperson Juvenal Nkusi expressed dismay over the errors, saying they were cross-cutting in all departments.

“This makes me doubt the quality of education you give to students when you can’t have clean books of account,” said Nkusi.

PAC also tasked the officials to explain why they had many suspense accounts that could not be justified by the AG.

In response, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for finance and administration at University of Rwanda, Pudence Rubingisha, said students could pay through banks without indicating on the bank slips what they were paying for.

“That’s why we could sometimes find money on the accounts, but without knowing the source,” he said, adding the University of Rwanda now demands that all deposits to its name have clear reasons therefor.

Unauthorised benefits?

Public entities are required to maintain appropriate documentation necessary to support all payments made to them.

However, the AG’s office uncovered unauthorised staff benefits where NUR was paying rent for all its staff, including those who were not entitled to the benefit.

Nduhabandi said it was a partial contribution by the university as staff had to pay a certain amount that could be deducted from their salaries.

“The deductions also varied; we could deduct Rwf200,000 from the rector, Rwf120,000 from the vice rectors, and the rest of the staff would pay around Rwf60,000 monthly,” he said.