NINETEEN former employees of Travaux d’Interêts Générales (TIG), have petitioned the Minister of Internal Affairs, the Police and the Office of the Ombudsman over mismanagement of the program.
TIG is a government agency that oversees community service carried out by people convicted of participating in the 1994 Genocide against Tutsis, commonly known as Tigists.
The former employees forwarded their complaint after they were dismissed from their jobs.
According to documents written by the former employees, the TIG management is accused of selling food meant for the prisoners, and using the prisoners to work on their personal property, mainly farms.
“They employ Tigists to work on their farms,” one of the former employees said, adding that in return, the Tigists are released early.
“Some Genocide convicts are living happily in their homes after being released by leaders of TIG,” the former employee, who preferred anonymity, said.
When contacted, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Mussa Fazil Harelimana, confirmed that there were irregularities within TIG.
“We found cases of people stealing food in Rubavu and Kicukiro. The person involved in Kicukiro was arrested,” Harelimana said.
The former employees claimed that there was a coordinated effort to steal TIG food supplies, and re-sell them when tenders for supplying food for Tigists would be advertised.
TIG’s Executive Secretary, Evariste Bizimana, dismissed the claims, saying that the employees who forwarded the complaints were only disgruntled. He added that he had fired them for failure to meet their job requirements.
“Some of these people who complain are the same who were selling food meant for Tigists,” Bizimana said. “A case has been opened at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).”
“We suspected corruption and we had to dismiss them. There is a case in Gatsibo where a Tigist was bribing a Camp Coordinator,” Bizimana said, adding that he received threatening telephone calls when he fired the employees.
Bizimana is also accused of dismissing staff and keeping their names on the payroll, a claim he said was baseless.
The former employees are calling for an independent investigation into the alleged mess within TIG.