Education dismisses claims of misuse of disaster aid

The Ministry of Education (Mineduc) has dismissed allegations in the Auditor General’s report that it had a hand in the mismanagement of disaster relief aid in the Western Province.The State Minister in charge of Primary and Secondary Education, Dr Mathias Harebamungu, said the funds allocated to the renovation of schools destroyed by an earthquake in 2008 were simply insufficient.
State Minister Mathias Harebamungu.
State Minister Mathias Harebamungu.

The Ministry of Education (Mineduc) has dismissed allegations in the Auditor General’s report that it had a hand in the mismanagement of disaster relief aid in the Western Province.

The State Minister in charge of Primary and Secondary Education, Dr Mathias Harebamungu, said the funds allocated to the renovation of schools destroyed by an earthquake in 2008 were simply insufficient.

“Some of the affected schools were either not reconstructed or rehabilitated because funds were not enough,” said Harebamungu, adding that the ministry and the relevant districts would have to take the responsibility of carrying on the work from their budgets.

He, however, noted that an estimated Rwf287.7 million transferred by Mineduc to Rusizi District in 2008 for the construction and rehabilitation of classrooms and dormitories at seven schools was diverted to other activities.

“Being aware of that matter, Mineduc took necessary measures to enable contractors to continue with the work,” said Harebamungu.

He added that apart from the five classrooms and one dormitory abandoned by EIS Company, 26 classrooms at six schools were completed using Mineduc funds.

“District leaders who allowed this misuse of funds were arrested and later released,” explained Harebamungu.

Concerning EIS Company, Harebamungu said that the contractor was awarded two tenders for works on a single project of Nkombo Secondary School.

The tenders, according to Harebamungu, were given to the company by both Rusizi District and Mineduc.

“In the evaluation process, Rwanda Public Procurement Authority was not informed that the same company already had a contract with the district,” he observed.

The ministry is in the process of cancelling the contract with EIS for the abandoned work where the contractor will be liable to penalties.

Meanwhile, Harebamungu said that owners of HATEGEKA Consult, which was contracted to reconstruct Shangi Primary School in Nyamasheke, had fled the country.

“Nyamasheke District cancelled the contract and awarded it to another contractor, PCC. to complete the abandoned work. The District was also tasked to take the errant company to court,” he pointed out.

The report outlined mismanagement of funds directed to four districts of the Western Province hit by disasters between 2007 and 2010 namely, Nyamasheke, Rusizi, Nyabihu and Rubavu.

In most cases, the aid was diverted to other activities, either related to disaster-related or not, and some local leaders were allegedly involved in fraudulent activities while many victims and destroyed infrastructure remain unattended to, says the report.

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