Bugesera officials held over flouting procurement rules

Bugesera District executive secretary and two procurement officers were on Saturday arrested for allegedly helping the wrong bidder secure a multimillion construction deal.

Bugesera District executive secretary and two procurement officers were on Saturday arrested for allegedly helping the wrong bidder  secure a multimillion construction deal.

The arrested Bugesera District Executive Secretary. (Courtesy)

The district had contracted NJB Enterprise to construct modern district headquarters in Nyamata town.

Zéphanie Munyanziza, the district   executive secretary; Syverie Uzaribara, the chairman of the district tender board; and Martin Bimenyimana, a procurement officer were detained at Nyamata Police Station pending further investigations. The owner of NJB Enterprise, Jean Baptiste Nemeyabahizi, is also under Police custody.

Eastern Region Police spokesman Inspector of Police Emmanuel Kayigi, confirmed the arrests, saying the case involved many people.

“We have so far arrested four suspects and are still investigating others. They will face a number of charges including; corruption, flouting procurement procedures, forgery, among others,” he said.

Kayigi said the entrepreneur and his son used forged documents and stamp with the knowledge of the arrested officials.

“The man and his son both signed as director general of one company.They forged everything including details of the contract and receipts of KCB. All this was done with the knowledge of the district officials,” he said.

This is the building couldn't be completed because of suspected corruption. (Courtesy)

He said the available documents show that the entrepreneur was paid over Rwf990 million out of the Rwf1.05 billion total amount in the contract.

“The amount of money the entrepreneur was paid is not commensulate with the work done. Performance guarantees were forged by private entrepreneurs and approved by equally corrupt procurement officers. This is what we are trying to investigate,” he added.

Kayigi, who is also the Regional Judicial Police officer, said the suspects would be charged as soon as investigations are concluded.  They face up to seven years in jail.

“The fraud was done with the knowledge of the suspects who abused their  powers,” Kayigi said.

Louis Rwagaju, the Mayor of Bugesera District, said the tender was awarded on non-technical terms.

“The contract was given to the wrong entrepreneur who has since failed to finish the work. We have about four members of staff implicated. It is regrettable that such corruption tendencies still exist,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Rwanda Public Procurement Authority (RPPA) warned entrepreneurs against flouting procurement procedures.

Theoneste Hitimana, an RPPA official, said the new procurement law punishes connivance with bidders or disclosure of technical specifications before a tender notice is published.

RPPA banned over 90 companies from participating in bidding for public tenders over irregularities in 2013.