Allow me to express my heartfelt trepidation caused by the shocking news that I read in your paper about the Auditor General’s report of 2006 to the parliament. It is very paralyzing and inconceivable that Frw5.3 billion of tax payers’ money went unaccounted for in 2006.
This is very shameful and hazardous to a poor country like ours with limited resources and nearly surviving on foreign aid to be implicated with such unbelievable cases that arose in the 2006 Auditor General’s report.
I wonder what the world feels when they read such news, yet Rwanda’s status in Africa’s political and financial accountability grades seems to be of high standards.
Nevertheless, if this was something being checked on and curbed by the various concerned bodies, one would hope for a dawn of positive change that this would end someday. But this is not the case.
Financial misappropriations were reported in 2004 and 2005 AG’s reports as well, in which Frw4.4 billion and Frw3.6 billion of people’s hard-earned money was unaccounted for respectively.
Fellow Rwandans, what are we doing against these alarming embezzlement cases in our country? Should we only leave this task to the legislators or the Prosecutor General’s office? Certainly not!
This battle is ours collectively, and we need to seek ways of how we can fight against these anomalous financial behaviour in our public institutions.
Remember, this is our own money meant for improving our education, health care and infrastructure systems that ends in individuals’ pockets.
I want to appeal to the government to put in place some campaign measures to fight against mismanagement and unaccountability in public offices.
If need be, let there be incentives to whoever contributes to this cause, just like Rwanda Revenue Authority sponsors some campaigns of promoting tax paying culture, or CNLS and Imbuto Foundation promoting campaigns on HIV/Aids.
Economic embezzlement and mismanagement in public institutions is as deadly as HIV/Aids!
But while the government studies my proposal (hopefully), I especially appeal to the media to bring public officials implicated in such fraudulent manners to public debates to provide extensive explanations to the public why they or their institutions are not accountable.
In fact, one would argue that with the number of private radios and newspapers seemingly increasing compared to the past five years, this battle could somewhat easily be waged. Fighting corruption isn’t a parliamentarians’ role solely, it is for all Rwandans.
Radios, newspapers and Rwanda Television, I would suggest that officials from the following institutions be invited to such debates first in relation to their cases mentioned in AG’s report.
These are: officials from the Students’ Financing Agency for Rwanda (SFAR) on the Frw96 million embezzled, Ministry of Agriculture (on the alleged Frw77 million embezzled from the Forest Conservation Project- PAFOR), School of Finance and Banking, SFB (on the case of its lecturers who quit their jobs yet they had vehicles on loan), Ministry of Infrastructure (on its lack of supervision of public fixed assets as only nine buildings out of 69 are legally registered in Rubavu district).
The list could go on and on, but let us at least first deal with these ones and roll-out the campaign to others later.