House oversight committee demands accountability for lost public funds

The Prime Minister needs to put in place stringent measures to reduce mismanagement of public funds and hold those responsible for past losses to account, the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has said.
Nkusi and the PAC committee he leads have recommended stringent anti-graft measures. (D. Umutesi)
Nkusi and the PAC committee he leads have recommended stringent anti-graft measures. (D. Umutesi)

The Prime Minister needs to put in place stringent measures to reduce mismanagement of public funds and hold those responsible for past losses to account, the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has said.

PAC members submitted the recommendations to Parliament on Wednesday while presenting a report of their analysis of the Auditor General’s report for the Financial Year 2013/14.

“Many government projects captured in the Auditor-General’s report are marked by bad feasibility studies, poor implementation of projects, wasteful spending of government funds, poor contract management and bad coordination. All government institutions need to work together to reduce the loss of government funds in such poor management,” reads one of the report’s resolutions to the prime minister.

The legislators also urged the Judiciary to investigate cases of mismanagement of public funds as indicated in the Auditor-General’s report and hold those involved to account.

The Auditor-General (AG) noted mismanagement of public funds during the Financial Year 2013/14 at different institutions, including major bodies like the Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA), the Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB), the former Energy, Water and Sanitation Authority (EWSA), and the Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA).

Wasteful spending was also uncovered at the Rwanda Education Board (REB), Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA), the Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC), the Rwanda Natural Resources Authority (RNRA), and the National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB), among others.

The AG audited 131 institutions on how they spent their budgets for the financial year, indicating in the report that Rwf11 billion was spent wastefully.

“The judiciary is requested to investigate and indicate all the people who were involved in issues raised in the AG’s report about poorly designed government projects, stalled projects, projects abandoned by contractors, projects that cost money wastefully and all the projects that were mismanaged so that those who were involved in the mistakes are held to account,” PAC members said in their report.

Legislators approve of PAC report

Other legislators welcomed and approved the report, also calling for the government to ensure accountability for the mismanagement of public funds.

“Those who are in charge of law enforcement should do something because those who don’t respect our laws have to be punished,” said MP Constance Rwaka.

MP Henriette Mukamurangwa agreed, saying routine reports on mismanagement of public funds should be followed by holding to account those responsible.

“The routine toothless reports are not what we need; we should find a way of holding people to account,” she said.

Towards the end of June and throughout July, PAC summoned more than 100 officials from central and local governments, and government enterprises to explain their role in the loss of funds, mismanagement and the discrepancies highlighted in the Auditor-General’s report.

PAC chairperson Juvenal Nkusi told the House on Wednesday that most officials admitted mistakes in the management of funds and their institutions, leaving him wondering whether Rwandans missed out on a lot of government services as a result of poor management of resources.

“When you look at the public funds that are invested through these institutions, you realise that it’s a lot of money that would be very useful for Rwandans if well managed,” Nkusi said.

The legislators also recommended that the AG conducts a deeper audit about revenue collection in the country by closely looking at the performance of the Rwanda Revenue Authority.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

 

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