Police are holding directors and finance managers of Nyagatare, Rubavu and Rulindo district hospitals over allegations of embezzlement.
The arrests follow an audit exercise that was carried out in all hospitals this month which revealed missing funds, according to sources.
The embezzled funds, whose figure has not been made public were part of a project run by the Ministry of Health to fight malnutrition in communities.
Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) Celestin Twahirwa, the spokesperson of Police, confirmed the arrests yesterday, saying the suspects were being held at various police stations.
“They were arrested in connection with embezzlement of hospital funds. Police compiled a dossier and submitted it to the prosecution but investigations are still ongoing,” he said.
Nyagatare hospital directors were the first to be arrested, before their counterparts.
“We are still investigating…some more people may be arrested and possibly others released depending on the outcome of our findings. It is a long chain that we are following up,” he said.
The law provides that Police should make a dossier within five days after the arrest of a suspect and pass it on to the Prosecution for further action.
Twahirwa said the total amount of money thought to have been embezzled will be established after the investigations are fully concluded.
Meanwhile, Police are still hunting for some of the hospital administrators and other suspects in the case.
Several suspects that include the accountants of the said hospitals are said to have gone into hiding before the audit was completed.
The embezzlement of funds meant for anti-malnutrition campaign comes at a time when the government has increased efforts to check the scourge in society.
According to the Fourth Integrated household living condition survey (EICV 2013-2014) report, stunting or chronic malnutrition remains a big problem in the country.
Chronic malnutrition levels in children under five years are at over 37 per cent.
Reacting to the reports of the public money embezzlement, residents said the corrupt officials should be punished accordingly.
“We are here crying to end malnutrition in communities, when the little money at our disposal to help us, ends up in pockets of few individuals. This is very serious…we would like to see the culprits punished severely. Corruption and embezzlement of public funds must be going on silently in hospitals,” said Alex Musonera, a resident of Nyagatare town.