When public funds don’t just go down the throat

We strongly condemn the culture of embezzling public funds, from the top to the bottom of our social and political order.

We strongly condemn the culture of embezzling public funds, from the top to the bottom of our social and political order.

The recent arrest of government officials allegedly for embezzling public funds shows the degree at which societal morals are declining. It further confirms that much needs to be done to uproot corruption and gross embezzlement of public funds in society.

On a rather positive note, it shows Rwanda’s commitment to fight the vice.

Nonetheless, the irony of it all is that the most corrupt officials are the well paid civil servant in the land. Is it because they have much access to public funds? The answer is an obvious yes.

You cannot embezzle what you do not have at your disposal. But why do you crave for more, when you already have enough? It is the issue of greed; greed like the one that has resulted into global economic recession.

Furthermore, why are people continuing to swindle public funds despite the government’s nonsense approach, to curb the malpractice? There are many reasons but we can just highlight a few.

One, the very people or institutions that are supposed to fight corruption have some loopholes within their systems.

The police for instance admitted that some of its officials, are involved in corruption and many other institutions are no different from the police.

This is of course evidenced by the fact that the managers of the institutions are the ones actually ‘caught in action’.
So, a situation where the manager or any other high official in an institution is part of the malpractice, you do not expect him or her to stop it.

Two, government officials are expected to declare their wealth to the office of the Ombudsman. The office of Ombudsman however, at some point actually, established that most government officials do not have enough proof, to show how they acquired the wealth. Under normal circumstances, such verifications are supposed to be followed with sanctions, but they are not.

Another challenge that the verification exercise could have actually encountered, is the fact that some of the government officials do not invest in Rwanda.

It is not our interest to mention them, but some of these engaged in swindling public public funds do not have their properties in Rwanda. What they earn is taken to other countries.

Therefore, the point is, how do you investigate such people?  Holistically, such cases make it difficult for the Ombudsman to carry out the verifications.

The last but yet the worst observation is that corruption and embezzlement of public funds, are moral issues.

This is why we cannot give them any room. Abusing and misusing public or private office to unlawfully enrich oneself is commiting serious crime.

It is also not only an economic and social problem, but by and large a moral issue and a moral problem. We should therefore, strongly condemn the culture of embezzling public funds, from the top to the bottom of our social and political order.

There should be a system of moral accountability to foster radical reforms in various government agencies, to make them more responsive to the requirements of integrity as well as to the needs of the poor.

Conversely, we have to warn potential that public money does not always move down the throat smoothly. The inclinations and fear mixed with search for wealth, should not coarse big brains into the mal practices that normally ends more in doom than glory.


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