The Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has recommended fresh audit into Energy Utility Corporation Ltd (EUCL) to determine the problems the institution inherited from operating under the now defunct Energy Water and Sanitation Authority (EWSA).
The call came as a result of comments by the former chief executive of Rwanda Energy Group, Jean Bosco Mugiraneza, who blamed the company’s problems from splitting water and energy utility companies.
He was speaking on the third day of PAC’s public hearings concerning the management issues contained in the 2014/15 Auditor General’s report.
Mugiraneza said that, to deal with EUCL’s recurring problems, it is important to determine what issues existed before and those that came about after the split.
“For this to be fixed, there should be cut off, from where the company stood as of July 1, 2014, so that we can differentiate old problems from new ones. There are debts that moved with a different company and some serious decisions need to be made,” he said.
Addressing the issue of Rwf13 billion debt cited by the Auditor-General, Mugiraneza said that some issues date as far back as when the institution was still called Electrogaz.
“For instance, there are dates accumulated by communes (now districts) when the company was still called Electrogaz. Then later, you have enterprises that also had debts at the time they were privatised. Getting that money has been difficult,” he said.
PAC deputy chairperson Theoneste Karenzi agreed that the new companies should not be held accountable for past mistakes and that there was need for a fast and permanent solution to determine what qualifies as an old problem and a new one.
“These (AG) reports have over the years come with the same problems over and over again. From EWSA to REG and WASAC. There are historical responsibilities that should not be a burden carried by new companies,” Karenzi said.
“The Auditor-General’s responsibility is not only to tell us where there are problems but to also advise such institutions. PAC’s recommendation is that the board and management should make decision and discuss it with the Finance and Infrastructure ministries and the Auditor-General so that the next report is clear,” he added.
‘No letting go’
MP Theogene Munyangeyo placed the responsibility on the Ministries of Finance and that of Infrastructure, which he said should have prepared for the smooth separation of the institutions.
“The responsibility lays with the Ministry of Infrastructure and the one of Finance. They should have separated the assets and given clean financial statements so that there is a starting point. That didn’t happen. This is the time the two ministries should admit that mistakes were made and it’s time to rectify them,” he insisted.
PAC chairperson Juvenal Nkusi said the committee will continue with queries about assets and financial statements till a more permanent solution is found.
“We will not stop asking questions unless this is corrected once and for all. You need to sit down and discuss what issues arose from splitting the two institutions, lasting solutions can be found. This does not stop the company operations,” he said.
The hearings, which started on Monday, will see 22 institutions and districts appear.
The hearings will end on October 10 and a report with the findings will be delivered to the Plenary at least by October 23.