Nine people, including local leaders, have been arrested in Nyagatare and Ruhango districts in connection with embezzlement of public funds meant for social protection schemes.
Five of the suspects, who include a local leader in Ntongwe Sector, a veterinary officer and three residents, were arrested in Ruhango.
According to the Southern Region Police spokesperson, Chief Inspector of Police Andre Hakizimana, the local leader is accused of forging Ubudehe reports in which some cash meant for the vulnerable beneficiaries was swindled.
The veterinary officer is also said to have been soliciting money from people as a prerequisite to put them on the list of Gir’inka programme.
CIP Hakizimana explained that the three other residents also allegedly formed a ghost cooperative through which they acquired Rwf1.7 million under VUP.
“These are the people who are supposed to be promoting government development programmes, instead they are the ones diverting what is meant to speed up poverty eradication, rural growth and social protection, for their personal interest; we call upon the public to stand up and fight for what is rightly theirs,” CIP Hakizimana said.
Meanwhile, in Nyagatare, four other people are in police custody in connection with forgery of documents and embezzlement of VUP funds.
Two of the suspects are also said to have forged documents indicating that they had formed a cooperative called Duhujimihigo.
Police spokesperson for the Eastern Region, Inspector of Police Emmanuel Kayigi, said: “The two residents allegedly worked with village and cell leaders in running the scum.”
“The local leaders are alleged to have signed documents attesting to the existence of the ghost cooperative and as such, the cooperative received Rwf2.5million from VUP,” IP Kayigi added.
Embezzlement attracts an imprisonment of up to ten years in prison and a fine of two to five times the value of the embezzled.