NEWly sworn-in Prosecutor-General Jean Bosco Mutangana has vowed war on the so-called corruption ‘big fish’.
Speaking at a handover ceremony between his predecessor Richard Muhumuza and himself, Mutangana expressed his determination to bring anyone who has been involved in corruption or embezzlement of public funds to justice.
“We must give special attention to crimes that destroy the economic fabric of the nation. We must combine our efforts and pursue these people regardless of their positions in government. I have heard people call them ‘big fish’ and I feel that probably makes them think that they are untouchable. No fisherman is interested in small fish and we, too, must strive to go after the big ones,” he said.
Mutangana said the history of Rwanda had already cost the country enough and there was need to work more toward preserving national resources than squandering them.
“Rwanda faced the Genocide against the Tutsi, which led to a tremendous loss of human capital, something that is essential in getting us to the sustainable development. Twenty-two years later, we are determined to track down and bring to justice anyone who wants to misuse even the little that we have. A country without a stable economy cannot function and there is absolutely no stability if the money that is meant for developmental activities ends up in the wrong hands,” he said.
Mutangana praised Justice Muhumuza’s contribution to prosecution for the last 17 years as “remarkable”.
Justice Muhumuza, now a Supreme Court judge, said the Prosecutor-General’s office had achieved a lot and attributed it to teamwork and his colleague’s positive response to his counsel.
He described Mutangana as “hard working” and expressed his enthusiasm in seeing even greater improvements since they have been working together for long.
He also pointed out the need to preserve the nation’s assets, urging the prosecutors to work harder to end crime.
“Let us strive to preserve the nation’s assets and handle them the exact way we handle our own because a country without assets has nothing.,” he said.
Pursuing corruption-related crimes
A presentation at the ceremony indicates that though the number of corruption-related crimes has been going up, the Prosecutor-General’s office’s zeal to pursue and bring the perpetrators to justice has also greatly improved.
For instance, in 2011, some 209 dossiers were received, 174 completed and 62 were pending. In 2012, 138 dossiers were received, 100 were handled, 38 pending.
Between 2013 and 2014, 150 dossiers were received, while 144 handled. Between 2014 and 2015, 410 dossiers were received and all were completed while between 2015 and 2016, 315 dossiers were received and 298 were handled.