Following a decision by cabinet last Friday to dismiss 198 police officers, Rwanda National Police (RNP) has stressed that any officer implicated in graft and any other form of malpractice, will not be tolerated.
Such practices, according to the police publicist Assistant Commissioner of Police Theos Badege, undermine the core values of the Force and go against national policies.
According to Badege, transparency, accountability, safeguarding the rule of law, and integrity, among other core values, must define the professional conduct of each police officer while serving the people with openness, effectively and efficiently.
“The rhythm against corruption and bribery, either within the Force or in other institutions, remains. The slogan is the same, no mercy for a corrupt officer; it’s automatic dismissal from the Force,” ACP Badege said.
The officers, dismissed by cabinet that was chaired by President Paul Kagame, are of varying ranks and were fired over varied misconduct practices.
Those dismissed include one Superintendent of Police, four at the rank of Chief Inspector of Police (CIP); 23 Inspectors of Police (IP), and 38 Assistant Inspectors of Police (AIP).
Others are 65 Non-Commissioned Officers and 67 Police Constables.
“There are various grounds on which an officer can be dismissed; going against the usual discipline that is required of each officer and offences that are criminal in nature. The dismissed officers, therefore, fall under these categories,” said ACP Badege.
“Most of them, however, are those that were implicated in corruption in the form of soliciting bribes, an act that leads to automatic dismissal,” he added.
“There is a process from the RNP disciplinary actions, to the line ministry and ultimately to the cabinet, before an implicated officer is dismissed. The process is meant to look into and exhaust each case to be sure whether the implicated officer committed the offence,” he said.
The dismissal, he noted, doesn’t exonerate one from legal action.
“Policing in Rwanda is proactive in nature, with the public our major allies; such actions against undisciplined officers continue to cement this partnership and trust among the people.”
The fourth edition of Rwanda Governance Scorecard (RGS), released last week, indicates that safety and security were the best performers, last year with 92.62 percent, followed by control of corruption, under which Rwanda National Police is a lead player.
According to RNP statistics, last year alone, close to 200 people were arrested for allegedly giving bribes to police officers, and 80 police officers implicated in graft related malpractices.
About Rwf6.6 billion in evaded taxes was also recovered while over 100 people have been arrested in connection with misappropriation of about Rwf4.3 billion that were unaccountable for in social protection programmes.
“It is a national policy of ensure zero tolerance to graft. It also falls under the President’s visionary guidance of having few but professional officers, who can deliver.”