There is need for more effective measures beyond laws in the fight against corruption in the country, officials in charge of fighting graft have said.
The observation was made yesterday at a general assembly of members of the African Parliamentarians Network against Corruption (APNAC), at Parliament Buildings in Kimihurura.
According to information released yesterday at the meeting by Jean Marie Twagirayezu, the Commissioner for Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Rwanda National Police, 2017 has experienced more corruption cases than the recent years.
By November this year, police had received 411 corruption cases, a higher number compared to 223 cases in 2014, 366 cases in 2015 and 243 cases in 2016.
The forum focused on discussing challenges in the country’s battle against corruption and how to address them in order to achieve the Government’s policy of zero tolerance to graft.
Aimable Havugiyaremye, the chairman of the Rwanda Law Reform Commission, observed that corruption is still alive despite the different measures that have been undertaken.
Citing the 2014 Bribery Index which showed that many graft cases occurred because of the urge to speed up services, Havugiyaremye said that if the service delivery becomes efficient, graft will be reduced.
“Putting in place laws is not the first solution. Law is the last option. If we can deploy other solutions, the better,” he said.
“Before we devise laws to fight something, we need first to know what brings it. According to the 2014 Rwanda Bribery Index by Transparency International, the biggest percentage of graft cases was due to the need to speed up service delivery,” he said.
“If you can come up with a way of improving the delivery of a particular service and it is delivered fast and electronically, people will not pay bribes. Likewise, it will reduce the chances of meeting people who ask for bribes since there will not be exchange of documents directly,” he added.
John Bosco Mutangana, the Prosecutor General, called for further sensitisation of people in order to make them know the benefits of whistleblowing.
He cited lack of evidence among the challenges to prosecuting corruption cases as people are reluctant to share information.
He encouraged partnership with other corruption watchdogs in the country in the form of sharing information.
Anastase Murekezi, the Ombudsman, called for laws that protect witnesses that testify in corruption cases.
He also said there is need to make bail hard to secure for those that are being investigated over corruption.
Acting Commissioner of CID in Rwanda National Police, Jean Marie Twagirayezu, said that the increasing number of files on corruption cases at the police this year may mean that the police is doing a good job in terms of following up on corrupt cases.
He said more has to be done especially in the form of regional and continental integration, mainly in harmonising laws concerning graft.
He also suggested rewards for people that give information concerning graft.
Bernard Makuza, the Senate president, said that the main weapon in fighting corruption is political will.
“The problem of corruption is tackled first and foremost by political will, which is supported by mechanisms put in place so that what is desired will be achieved,” he said, citing among others, the Ombudsman’s office, prosecutor general, and the police as some of the mechanisms in place.
However, Makuza also said that tough laws that deal with corruption should also be put in place.
MP John Ruku-Rwabyoma urged institutions to invest in hiring highly trained and skilled anti-corruption personnel.”
MP Théobald Mporanyi said the increase in graft cases at the police may mean that more citizens are coming forward to report graft.
“If the cases are increasing, it may mean that the citizens have learnt to denounce those who give bribes or seek bribe,” he said.