The Ministry of Justice hopes to recover Rwf 2.8 bn following the successful prosecution of 145 individuals by the National Public Prosecution Authority (NPPA) on charges of corruption.
The prosecutions were based on the Auditor Generals (AG) reports from 2007 to 2009. The jail terms incurred by the individuals ranged from one to ten years imprisonment.
This was disclosed in a report released by the NPPA, containing the names of individuals who had lost corruption cases. The report reveals that the Prosecution forwarded, to the Justice Ministry, a list of 63 dossiers worth over Rwf 2.7 billion, 660,000 Euros and US $5,855 as well as other non-financial assets to be recovered.
“We have been following up on the Auditor General’s report since 2007,” Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga said.
The majority of the individuals on the list are government officials as well as financial controllers who embezzled, failed to account or misappropriated funds, flouted tender and procurement procedures or failed to deliver good account books.
“We have been investigating and systematically following up these cases so that we don’t miss out anything the Auditor General pointed out”, Ngoga said.
Prominent among the cases cited by the NPPA are instances of government officials diverting public funds for personal reasons as well as officials stealing materials for the implementation of government programmes such as iron sheets, fertilisers and cement.
The Prosecutor General commended the NPPA’s Economic Crimes Department for following up on the cases despite the challenges it faced. He, however, expressed concern that the department, which was established in 2007 and currently has 21 prosecutors, did not have enough capacity to follow up all the cases highlighted in the AG’s report.
He stated that the prosecutors have to follow up cases in and outside the country including in all embassies and he cited the biggest challenge being government employees getting transferred to other institutions or even quitting, making it difficult to locate them.
The Coordinator of the Economic Crimes Department, Jules Marius Ntete, told The New Times that the NPPA will embark on the 2010 Auditors General Report by February 2012 because it is still handling a backlog of cases.
The AG’s most recent report highlighted some Rwf 9.7bn that has not been properly accounted for.
The NPPA has opened 265 cases between 2007 to 2010 based on the findings of the Auditor General’s report.
Reacting recently on the recovery process, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Pascal Bizimana Rugemitwari, said that they were undertaking a recovery process in collaboration with the Prosecution, the Supreme Court and the Ombudsman’s office.
He said they will send a list of names of the wanted individuals to the Department of Immigration, banks and other service points to ensure that the culprits don’t evade justice.