Ombudsman defends report in Parliament

KIGALI - Senators and Members of Parliament were yesterday perplexed by what they termed as ‘confusing figures’ in the 2009/10 report of the Ombudsman.
Ombudsman, Tito Rutaremara addressing the Parliament yesterday (Photo; T. Kisambira)
Ombudsman, Tito Rutaremara addressing the Parliament yesterday (Photo; T. Kisambira)

KIGALI - Senators and Members of Parliament were yesterday perplexed by what they termed as ‘confusing figures’ in the 2009/10 report of the Ombudsman.

The lawmakers raised their concerns during a Joint parliamentary Session as the Ombudsman, Tito Rutaremara presented his report.

Most of the figures that members of parliament questioned include those of massive embezzlement of construction materials meant for houses of vulnerable people.

There are tables in the report that indicate the amount of constriction material that were released by the Ministry of Local Government and how much reached the lowest levels of administration, but at the same time, there are blank spaces in the tables that don’t indicate whether the materials were supplied or diverted to other sources.

This left the majority of MPs and Senators confused and questioned the Ombudsman why there were mismatches in the figures given in the report.

In his defense, Rutaremara blamed the local government for not having documents justifying whether they received the material.

“There was a big problem when we were compiling facts, there were materials that were sent from the Local Government Ministry, to the Province and then supplied to through other local administrative levels,  but the problem is there were no supporting papers to prove that these people truly received the material,” said Rutaremara.

“We couldn’t base on hearsay and that is why we left blank spaces in the report for areas that didn’t have supporting documents.”

According to the report, the government released 580,189 iron sheets for the construction of houses for the needy, but only 484,3944iron sheets reached the beneficiaries while 4361 iron sheets where confirmed misused.

Rwamagana district leads the table with the biggest number of diverted iron sheets totaling to 1,690.
The 82-page report also indicates that under the same scheme of constructing houses for the needy, 67,245 sacks of cement were released to districts across the country but only 43,052 sacks of cement reached the indentified beneficiaries while 1,730 sacks of cement were confirmed to have been embezzled.

Meanwhile MPs and Senators questioned the Ombudsman how he intends to implement his policy on following up onMPs’ misconduct.

MP Juvenal Nkusi claimed that it is some form of invasion of privacy while Senator Antoine Mugesera wondered how the Ombudsman will investigate the conducts of MPs and at the same time present the report the same MPs.

In his response, Ombudsman Rutaremara reminded the lawmakers that they are the ones that passed the Leadership Code of Conduct law and added that as long as someone occupies a public office, he or she is no longer subject to privacy.

Ends

 

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