Rubavu - The controversy surrounding the award of a tax collection tender to private individuals in Rubavu District, has taken a new twist, with the District Advisory Council saying private individuals should not have been given the tender.
Rubavu district advertised five different types of tenders in tax and revenue collection. It included collection of taxes from Gisenyi town, Sebeya sand quarry, taxes from all sectors in the district, taxes from butcheries and all animal markets and taxes from motorists and cyclists.
In July last year, there was a standoff between the district tender committee and the bidders who even petitioned the office of the Ombudsman, accusing the district top leadership of manipulating the tender procedures to award their cronies contracts.
Now, barely three months after the tender was controversially awarded, reports say the District Advisory Council is cancelling the tenders, citing corruption and inflation of the standard tax tariff on the part of the contractors.
Efforts to get a comment from Nelson Mbarushimana, the Executive Secretary of Rubavu, were futile as he didn’t pick our several calls.
But Mayor, Sheikh Hassan Bahame, confirmed the development, saying tax receipts that were being given to business people are not exactly what are presented to the district authorities.
“We have evidence that they charge high taxes which is against the stipulated charge. hence extorting residents,” said Sheikh Bahame.
“Inflating taxes for unsuspecting citizens is theft which should not be tolerated, and as leaders, we must protect citizens.”
However, Mustapha Majyambere, one of the contractors, told our reporter they had not received any official communication terminating their services.
“We are still working and the district has not written to us to stop us from working, and I can’t make any more comments beyond this,” said Majyambere.
While Amin Francoise, who has the biggest contract to collect taxes in Gisenyi town declined to talk to the media when we called him.
“I don’t discuss work related issues with the media on phone,” said Amin before hanging up the phone.
It emerged fingers are being pointed at some district leaders whom, it is alleged, are behind the extortion of the taxes since contracts were won by their relatives.
“We know some of the money stolen is deposited on an account belonging to the wife and brother of a top leader in the district,” said a businessman who preferred not to be identified.