The Gambian Minister of Justice, Mama Fatima Singhateh, Friday paid a courtesy visit to the Inspector General of Police, Emmanuel Gasana where she hailed the police’s response against corruption.
Singhateh, who is accompanied by Oulaye Camara, the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Attorney General Chambers and Justice and Saffie Sankareh, a Senior State Counsel, was on a week-long fact-finding mission on how Rwanda has institutionalized and implemented its anti-corruption policies.
During her meeting with the IGP and senior police officers, Singhateh expressed appreciations to the force for its outstanding response to graft.
“We are in the process of establishing an anti-corruption commission in the Gambia and we know that Rwanda has a lot to teach us on how it started its own anti-graft structures,” Singhateh said.
“We are very much impressed with what we have seen in Rwanda. My President has declared a war on corruption; he has come up with a movement called ‘Operation No Compromise’ and also given us a deadline of December to have the anti-corruption commission established.
“One of the key starting points in addressing corruption is the Police and I am very happy to learn that Rwanda National Police (RNP)has institutionalized the anti-corruption mechanisms and plays a pivotal role in the fight against corruption”.
During the meeting, Gasana said that fighting corruption and other related malpractices had been the key strategies and a priority in shaping the policing regime of the force.
“Twenty –one years ago, Rwanda experienced shock; it was dooms day and tragic to humanity. That story of genocide will remain in our hearts but it has not stopped Rwandans from shaping their future. Because of able leadership, we have moved forward to attainment well-being, ” he said.
“Rwanda National Police is also moving in that direction under the visionary leadership of the Commander-in-Chief of security force, His Excellency President Paul Kagame,” he added.
He explained that the RNP ‘zero stance to corruption’ is a “strictly” imposed line that “even a police officer who swindles or solicits US1 dollar is no different from one stealing millions of money. The fate is the same; you are dismissed from the force…no flexibility”.
In a presentation, the force highlighted that at least 210 Police officers have been implicated in graft-related crimes in the last four years, with 98 of them dismissed from the force and case files of 50 others forwarded to ordinary courts.
To enforce the policy against corruption, the Police Chief said that a number of strategies have been undertaken, including instituting an Inspectorate for Services and Ethics charged with conducting internal investigations, monitor and evaluate quality of services and also handles public concerns leveled against police officers.
Other strategies in place to keep officers in check against graft include a Police disciplinary unit, strengthening E-Policing (online driving license tests registration, crime reporting and toll-free lines) to reduce Police contact with public, declaration of wealth and decentralizing RNP services.
“In Rwanda, no one is indispensable. These initiatives including the Police schools which also align their academic and professional training programmes in that line, ensure standards, discipline and moral values of servicemen,” the police chief said.
RNP also has a unique partnership with other judicial institutions, among them the Ombudsman Office and Transparency International-Rwanda, with whom they signed a Memorandum of Understanding.
With regards to Rwanda-Gambia relations, RNP graduated one Gambian senior officer at a Masters’ level while two others are taking similar courses at NPC.
The Gambian Inspector General of Police, (IGP) Ben Wilson also visited Rwanda recently in the spirit of gauging and strengthening relationship with their Rwandan counterparts.