Upcountry insight: Why Rusizi top leaders were fired

Following allegations of embezzlement against Rusizi top leadership, the District Advisory Council (DAC), last month instituted a commission of inquiry that has now unearthed gross irregularities in their conduct.

Following allegations of embezzlement against Rusizi top leadership, the District Advisory Council (DAC), last month instituted a commission of inquiry that has now unearthed gross irregularities in their conduct.

While reading the commission’s findings during a meeting that took place at Centre Pastoral in Kamembe, the head of the commission, Sylvestre Habiyambere, said the leaders were responsible for various irregularities, of which fraud took centre stage.

The four leaders were on November 15 sacked by the DAC over allegations of mismanagement and embezzlement of public funds.

Jean Pierre Turatsinze, the Mayor, his two deputies, Theogene Nkuranga, in charge of economic development, Esperance Umutoni, in charge of social affairs and the district Executive Secretary, Boniface Bajanama, were among those fired.

According to the report, Bajanama engaged in illegal deals, including signing cheques to withdraw millions of francs from various district accounts. 

He was also accused of conniving with one Aphrodis Kayiranga, a district official on the District Aids Control Commission (CDLS), to withdraw Rwf2, 990, 000 from  BCR Kamembe branch, claiming the money was meant to facilitate an Aids seminar in the area. 

The seminar took place last month, but the duo reportedly inflated the costs. Five directors at the district including Zura Kamariya, (Finance) Alexis Muvunyi, (Good governance), Deo Rugaju, (Health), Charles Ntibaziyaremye, (Education) and Habib Karyango, (Internal Resources) were suspended for three months each.

The council president, Joseph Bahenda, accused the leaders of direct involvement in various irregularities which are said to have rocked the district since their appointment in 2006 to date. This includes causing the council a financial loss of about Rwf100 m.

The report also implicated the quartet in flouting the tendering procedures which is corruption. The commission implicated Esperance Umutoni in the illegal sale of over 100 mattresses and various cartons of exercise books worth Rwf5 m. The materials were meant for Genocide survivor students.

Over 300 sacks of cement for constructing houses for the vulnerable Genocide survivors in the district  destroyed by heavy rains also disappeared at the district. This according to the commission, was tantamount to negligence.

Charles Ntibaziyaremye, the director of education, was accused of carelessness in addressing academic problems especially for Genocide survivor students, he reportedly failed to routinely monitor their health.

Over 150 genocide survivor students in the district dropped out of school due to financial constraints in 2007-2008 and it was interpreted as negligence on the part of Ntibaziyaremye.

The commission also implicated the district executive secretary together with the directors of finance and education, in the loss of over Rwf60 m in the education department.

The funds had been sent from the Ministry of Education for constructing classroom blocks in both primary and secondary schools this year.

According to the report, over Rwf2 m for the Fund for Genocide Survivors (FARG) were swindled by the former district official in charge of FARG, Yves Rutebuka.

He is currently working as the district receptionist, while over Rwf50 m that was meant for the health insurance scheme is still missing.

Last month an official from FARG head office in Kigali, Gaspard Uwumukiza, told The New Times that they had cut their funding to Rusizi district due to lack of accountability.

In a separate interview, a council source told The New Times, that the Mayor and his deputies had also failed to deliver on their promises.

Rusizi district was ranked fifth out of the seven districts in the Western Province after this year’s evaluation of performance contracts.

The council accused the director of Good governance, Alexis Muvunyi of conniving with some genocide suspects to conceal evidence of what happened during the genocide.

Sources allege that Muvunyi, has been visiting Cyangugu central prison to convince a genocide suspect identified as Emmanuel Mugabo, not to give damning evidence against the former Member of Parliament, Elisée Bisengimana and others who are still on the list of suspects.



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