KAYONZA-Officials from the Office of the Ombudsman and Transparency Rwanda, have cited corruption as being most rampant among grassroots leaders.
The revelation was made Wednesday during the launch of the headquarters of Transparency Rwanda Eastern Province in Kayonza.
Augustin Nzindukiyimana, the Deputy Ombudsman who presided over the function, said that graft remains the biggest challenge in Rwanda.
He, however, reaffirmed the government’s commitment to fight against the practice.
“The government reforms to reduce corruption and embezzlement of public funds have worked. Selling off government vehicles, houses and other assets greatly checked swindling of public funds,” he said.
“The major corruption remains at the grassroots level...it has even been given local appellations. Services are shamelessly accompanied by illegal payments...due to ignorance at this level. It has to end”.
Marie Immaculee Ingabire, the Chairperson of Transparency Rwanda, also observed that corruption at the lower levels has been taken for granted for years, a practice that must be halted.
She said that she was optimistic that all partners in the campaign against corruption, will continue to work together to end the vice.
“No one is born corrupt...it is a behaviour some people develop. I don’t agree that grassroots leaders are corrupt because they are not paid, because they compete for the posts. They disguise as volunteers to squeeze money out of people and this is unacceptable,” she said.
Daniele Teccarelli, an official from the European Union (EU), said that the organisation started supporting Transparency Rwanda after realising that it was a success in Kigali.
He added that the EU enjoys a cordial relationship with Rwanda, particularly, due to its zero tolerance on corruption.
“It is unfortunate that people in other countries unconsciously take corruption as a model of government. Decision makers have got to be accountable...corruption is an impediment to development,” he said.