97 institutions face probe over abuse of public funds

Officials from 97 public agencies cited in mismanagement or embezzlement of public funds as highlighted in the 2011/2012 Auditor-General’s report  may soon face the long arm of the law  following the Prosecution’s move to open up thorough investigations.
<p>Prosecutor-General Richard Muhumuza briefs the media in Kigali yesterday. Some 97 public institutions and officials in their individual capacities within the institutions are being probed over mismanagement and embezzlement of public funds. The Prosecution did not divulge the identities of the institutions or the officials.The New Times/ Timothy Kisambira.</p>

Prosecutor-General Richard Muhumuza briefs the media in Kigali yesterday. Some 97 public institutions and officials in their individual capacities within the institutions are being probed over mismanagement and embezzlement of public funds. The Prosecution did not divulge the identities of the institutions or the officials.The New Times/ Timothy Kisambira.

Officials from 97 public agencies cited in mismanagement or embezzlement of public funds as highlighted in the 2011/2012 Auditor-General’s report  may soon face the long arm of the law  following the Prosecution’s move to open up thorough investigations.

The Prosecution’s move comes days after the Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee finalised its interrogations of officials from entities cited in the AG report.

The report brought to light a whopping Rwf850 million that was categorised as wasteful expenditures. Out of that amount, Rwf22.8 million was said to have been directly embezzled.

In a media briefing in Kigali, yesterday, Prosecutor-General Richard Muhumuza said: “It’s our mandate and responsibility to investigate financial crimes, that’s why the Office of the Auditor-General gives us a copy of its report.  From the time we received the report, we started looking into it and made a list of agencies that we thought we should investigate.”

Muhumuza did not divulge the identities of the agencies or officials that are under probe, saying his office has to apply the principle of presumption of innocence to all the suspects.

The Inspector General of the Prosecution, Jules Marius Ntete, presented what the prosecution has done so far regarding the 2011/12 AG’s report and the previous one.

“We have so far filed 11 cases in court which involve charges of mismanagement and embezzlement, while we dropped 14 cases among those that we have investigated,” said Ntete.

Ntete added that so far, Rwf817,143 that had been lost in untaxed transactions has been recovered and deposited in the government coffers.

On the 2010/11 report, he said of the 90 agencies investigated, 35 cases were referred to courts, including two to the court martial, while 56 were dropped.

“The cases filed in court involve 158 individuals, while 41 civil servants committed administrative errors and were referred to the Office of the Prime Minister for administrative action.”

The majority of the cases in the Auditor-General’s reports are related to violation of the tender-awarding laws, constituting 55 per cent.

Part of the 2011/12 AG’s report indicates that 21 per cent of the crimes committed were related to embezzlement, while the least cases were those of theft that constituted 1.1 per cent.

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