Rwanda’s former spy chief, Patrick Karegyeya, was the chosen as the most qualified person for a United Nations (UN) consultancy job worth US$ 77,000 a month. The problem is that he lied to get it.
Karegyeya, together with former Rwandan chief of staff, Maj. Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa; former director of cabinet, Theogene Rudasingwa; and former Director of Public Prosecutions, Gerald Gahima, have emerged as the leading critics of Paul Kagame’s government accusing the president of corruption and intolerance.
Last year, the four formed a political party, the Rwanda National Congress to promote the cause of integrity and honest government in Rwanda. Their stated objective is to increase democracy and accountability in the country. Meanwhile, all international corruption indexes by Transparency International and the World Bank show that Rwanda has the least corruption of any country in Sub Sahara Africa.
Now, according to copies of Karegyeya’s CV that he submitted to compete with two other candidates, he lied 17 times about his education and experience. It was on the strength of these lies that he beat two other candidates with superior experience – Kenya’s Brig. Peter Manyara and Burundi’s Cyrille Ndayirukiye.
In the contract, the responsibility of the military consultant was to help strengthen the ability of the Somali Security Institutions and Forces to ensure security for the Transitional Federal Government (TFG). The UN required a qualified individual to achieve the objective of the mission.
In the CV, Karegyeya indicates that he graduated with a Bachelors of Laws degree from Makerere University in Uganda in 1982. From October 1982 to December 1985, he claims to have joined the Uganda National Resistance Army (NRA), a Ugandan liberation movement where he claims to have done “army training courses” in “military and guerrilla warfare” and to have gained “leadership recognition” and where he was being supervised by “Yoweri Museveni” – all of which is not true.
Karegyeya never joined the armed struggle in Luwero in those years. On the contrary, he was arrested by the Milton Obote government in 1982 and kept in detention in Luzira Maximum Security Prison without trial for three years. He was released in August 1985 by the government of Tito Okello Lutwa after Obote had been overthrown. It is then that he joined the NRA.
It is also indicated that he acquired a certificate in intelligence and security from the Uganda Intelligence Academy, where he studied from August 1986 to June 1989. However, there was no such academy in Uganda in those years and there is still no such academy today.
Interestingly, the CV then shows that from May 1987 to June 1988, while he was apparently still studying at the Uganda Intelligence Academy, he attended the Rwanda Patriotic Academy in Kigali Rwanda, acquiring a certificate in “management of security institutions”.
From August 1990 to April 1991, his CV claims he trained in the “management of intelligence services” from the “Uganda National Army”. Since no such academy exists, this claim too is false. Karegyeya then claims to have acquired a certificate in “defense policies” from the Rwanda Patriotic Army Academy, where he claims to have attended courses from September 1994 to July 1996. Yet, Rwanda’s minister of defense, James Kabarebe, told The Independent that no such academy exists in Rwanda.
Rwandan army Chief of General Staff, Charles Kayonga, told The Independent that Karegyeya never joined or fought with the RPA until it captured power, only returning to the country in 1995. According to the CV, Karegyeya fought in both the Rwandan Patriotic Front and Uganda National Resistance Army. A UN document shows that based on the above academic record and experience, the evaluation team at the UN preferred Karegyeya to the other candidates.
The team indicated that one of the determining factors that set Karegyeya apart was his experience in reintegrating ex-combatants after the genocide. According to the document, this puts Karegyeya in “good stead in understanding the psyche and tactics of the Islamic insurgents in Somalia.” But was his CV accurate?
According to John Sayinzoga, Head of the Rwanda Demobilisation Commission, the idea that Karegyeya participated in reintegrating ex-combatants, a factor that was strongly considered in awarding him the contract, is a “big fat lie.”
“To the best of my knowledge, the person who can claim credit for formulating the ideas and plans of reintegrating ex-combatants is Gen James Kabarebe, and not Karegyeya,” Sayinzoga said. Kabarebe, a former Chief of Defense Staff, is the individual who Karegyeya reported to while working as the Army Spokesperson for the Ministry of Defense.
Kabarebe told The Independent that he knows Karegyeya as a very reckless man “who has no fear for anything, even telling a blatant lie that would be discovered – just to get his way.” In a relaxed tone, Kabarebe added that “Karegyeya lacks seriousness and never takes anything seriously.”
In one of the application forms, there is a section where Karegyeya is said to have been a combatant in the Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA) from 1990 to 1994. Caesar Kayizari, Rwanda’s Army Chief of Staff, told The Independent that when the RPA invaded Rwanda, Karegyeya was not in the equation, even though Karegyeya’s CV indicates that he fought genocidaires in 1994.
Kayizari said that he remembers a day in 1985 when RPA members held a meeting at Karegyeya’s house in Kampala. Oddly, Karegyeya did not attend the meeting at his own home. “He told me he was only a sympathiser and not a supporter,” Kayizari said, adding that Karegyeya’s claim to have been a combatant during the genocide is a testament to his character. According to Gen Kayizari, it is because Karegyeya “is somebody who would want to project himself as powerful” that he made the claims in his job application to the UN. “He’s very corrupt, morally very corrupt,” Kayizari said.
Another section of the CV indicates that Karegyeya is a man who has never been in prison. Karegyeya has severally told The Independent’s Managing Editor, Andrew Mwenda of his experience in Luzira Prison for three years under Milton Obote’s regime in June 1982 charged with treason.
Karegyeya, who now travels on a Ugandan Passport by the names of Patrick Batenga, has been imprisoned twice in Rwanda, tried in a court of law, served his sentence then stripped of military rank and dismissed with disgrace from the army. Yet in his CV he claims he left the army on “early retirement.”
The Permanent Secretary in the ministry of defense in Rwanda, Jack Nziza, told The Independent that Karegyeya fled Rwanda in 2007 after being released from prison upon completion of an 18-month sentence. On July 13, 2006, an army court sentenced Karegyeya for deserting the force and disobeying his superiors – all now missing on his CV.
In an interview with The Independent, Lt. Gen. Charles Kayonga, Chief of General Staff of the Rwandan army said Karegyeya’s superiors always had issues with him, including on matters of corruption and using his position in the army to advance personal interests.
When The Independent contacted Karegyeya on his cell phone in South Africa to respond to the allegation that his CV is false and the accusations made against him by his colleagues in Rwanda, he refused to comment. At first Karegyeya hang up the phone, accusing The Independent of conspiring with authorities in Rwanda to blackmail him.
Shortly afterward, The Independent sent Karegyeya an SMS inviting him to respond to the allegations. He then responded to a second telephone call that was made to him. In this interview he asked: “Does that CV have my signature? If it does not, then that is not my CV.”
When asked to explain further, he said: “The UN is a big organization; you think they can fail to crosscheck my CV? Why would I create a wrong CV to get a UN job?
At my level, I am not the type of a person who can create a forged CV. I do not create lies.”
According to Karegyeya, the copy of the CV The Independent received from a trusted source is not his. “The Rwandan government has my CV,” Karegyeya said. “Why [don’t] you go ask them to give you my CV?” Asked whether he knows of the schools mentioned in the CV, including the Rwandan Patriotic Academy, Karegyeya denied knowing of them.
“Yes, I know they don’t exist,” he said.
In response to the military trainings mentioned in the CV that he supposedly acquired in Uganda and Rwanda, he said, “Who doesn’t know me in Uganda?”
Before The Independent finished going through the CV with Karegyeya over the phone, he became extremely frustrated. “Please leave me alone. I know the CV was created by your guys to blackmail me and I know who these people are. I know what they are trying to do,” Karegyeya said.
But before hanging up, he had one more thing to say: “You [The Independent] are lucky that you work in a country where people who write wrong things and are not sued.” (Many newspapers in Uganda have been closed down by hefty bills arising from successful civil defamation suits in Uganda. Karegyeya is free to sue The Independent in Ugandan courts - Editor).
Karegyeya does not deny having won the contract in question from the UN, but he claims that the CV obtained by The Independent is different than the one he submitted that placed him as the front candidate for the position.
However, The Independent obtained the documents from the UN and has comments of the UN on the CV it used to give him the contract.
If the CV The Independent has is indeed the one that Karegyeya submitted, how is it possible that he was awarded a position from the UN with a forged CV? Did someone else in the UN forge a CV contrary to the one Karegyeya submitted? What would be their motivation?
Does the UN not crosscheck information provided by candidates for high profile positions? If Karegyeya did lie on his CV, and the UN knowingly overlooked these lies, what is the motive of the UN in hiring a convicted criminal?
Not only did Karegyeya spend time in Ugandan and Rwandan prisons, but was also recently convicted in absentia by a Rwandan court for terrorism, creation of a criminal organisation, treason, incitement of ethnic divisions and deserting the army.
According to UN documents obtained by The Independent, Karegyeya was supposed to be paid US$ 77,250 for the job. However, according to the bank transfer details to Karegyeya’s account in South Africa which The Independent has obtained, he got only US$ 54,000. Where did the rest of the money go? Did the UN pay him less or was US$27,250 the cut for someone who helped him get the job?
The UN staff who handled this matter was one Bruno Mpondo-Epo, based in Nairobi. Since The Independent began covering this story, Mpondo-Epo has been very evasive, refusing to pick our calls, claiming not to hear what is being told to him on phone (when we called using blocked numbers) and answering by SMS only by saying, “I did not know that” or “Thank you for letting me know about that.”
However, a big question hangs over the reputation of the UN and of Keregyeya on this matter. First the UN hired a sworn enemy of a member state. This was a clear violation of the UN mandate and its own state modus operandi. Then it relied on a fabricated CV to exclude more deserving candidates from winning the contract. Finally, it paid Karegyeya less than he was entitled to either in collusion with him or by cheating him.
Meanwhile, Karegyeya who claims to be in a struggle for “democracy and free media” in Rwanda cannot tolerate it when the free media ask him questions about his personal conduct and integrity. Instead he accuses The Independent of getting the documents from the Rwandan government. Yet The Independent obtained the documents from a disgruntled UN employee who wanted to expose alleged corruption in the world body.
Contradictions in Karegyeya’s CV
1. The CV says he has never been arrested, indicted, summoned into court as a defendant in a criminal proceeding, or convicted, fined, or imprisoned for the violation of any law.
• Has been imprisoned three times. First, he was in Uganda’s Luzira Prison from 1982 to 1985 under Milton Obote’s regime. Then in Rwanda, he served two prison sentences for deserting the force, misconduct and disobeying his superiors. In 2007, he fled Rwanda upon completion of an 18-month sentence.
2. The CV says Karegyeya wrote a number of classified documents related to defence and security in the Great Lakes region, southern Africa, and Horn of Africa. He also says he wrote two unpublished books: A concept note on the structure of the Rwanda nation in Sept 1998 -unpublished (secret) and another on the reintegration of ex-combatants in Jul 1995-unpublished (secret).
• RDF leaders say they don’t remember him doing any research and writing any such documents.
3. The CV says he has a Certificate in Defence Policies from the Rwanda Patriotic Army from Sept. 1994 to July 1996 in Kigali.
• There is no such an academy in Rwanda. For all the years he was in Rwanda, he only received a one-year military administrative training alongside other junior officers.
4. The CV says he has a Certificate in Management of Intelligence Services from Uganda National Army in Kampala, Uganda from Aug. 1990 to April 1991.
• There is no such a school in Uganda. Therefore, he couldn’t have gotten a certificate from a school that does not exist.
5. The CV shows that he acquired a Certificate in Intelligence and Security from the Uganda Intelligence Academy in Kampala, Uganda from June 1986 to Aug. 1989.
• This academy does not exist in Uganda.
6. CV says he has a Certificate of Management of Security Institutions from Rwanda Patriotic Front Academy in Kigali, Rwanda from May 1987 to Jun1988.
• First, it overlaps with the time at the Uganda Intelligence Academy. Second, in 1987 to June 1988, RPA was not yet in existence and could not have been in Kigali. Third, the academy does not exist. Finally, he was a director of counter-intelligence at the Directorate of Military Intelligence in Uganda.
7. The CV says he trained in Military and Guerilla Warfare with the Uganda National Resistance Army (NRA) from Oct. 1982 to Dec. 1985.
From Oct. 1982 to Dec. 1985, he was in Uganda’s Luzira Maximum-Security Prison.
9. The CV says that in 1979, he graduated from Old Kampala Senior Secondary School (SSS) with an East African Advanced Certificate of Education in Mathematics, Science, Biology, Statistics, Literature, and Physics.
• Such a combination with those subjects does not exist in Uganda. And because he studied law, his subject combination could not have been for sciences.
10. The CV also shows that in 1976, Karegyeya graduated from Old Kampala SSS with an O-Level East African Advanced Certificate of Education in Mathematics, Science, and Literature.
• In the Ugandan education curriculum, O-Level classes have more than five subjects, including chemistry, biology, physics, mathematics, agriculture, history, commerce, and others. Science and literature do not exist as separate subjects until university.
11. The CV says he was a combatant in Rwanda Patriotic Front from Oct. 1990 to July 1994 to fight genocidaires.
• From 1990 to July 1994, Karegyeya was still in Uganda working with the Anti Smuggling Unit. RDF officials confirm that he only came to Rwanda at the end of 1994 after the liberation struggle.
12. The CV says that from 2004 to 2007 he was in charge of establishing defence attaches in various countries in Europe, US, Asia, Russia, and Regional African countries.
• First, RDF officials say that establishing defence attaches is the job of the Ministry of Defence as an institution, not a task of one individual. Two, Karegyeya was under National Security Service, which is under the Ministry of Defence.
13. The CV says the reason why Karegyeya left work in 2007 was because he took an early retirement.
• In 2006, Karegyeya was stripped of his rank of Colonel and dismissed with disgrace from the army after trial in a court of law.
14. The CV says Karegyeya helped end the genocide against the Tutsi in 1994.
• Karegyeya never fought. Gen. Kabareebe says Karegyeya was never in the mainstream defence force and he came to Rwanda after the genocide.
15. CV says from Jan. 1982 to Sept. 1985 Karegyeya was a combatant in Uganda National Resistance Army under the supervision of President Yoweri Museveni in Luweero.
• From 1982 to1985 Karegyeya was in Luzira Maximum Security Prison and therefore Museveni could not have supervised him.
16. The CV outlines his achievements while in Uganda before he went to Rwanda: It says liberation of Uganda from Milton Obote and stability of Uganda.
• Karegyeya never fought in the Uganda liberation was since he was in jail.
18. The CV says Karegyeya’s reason for leaving Uganda in 1990 was because he joined RPA in the liberation war in Rwanda.
• Karegeya was not in Rwanda until 1994 after the end of the liberation struggle.