Yesterday, during the Monthly Presidential Press Conference, President Paul Kagame, dedicated much time to talk about corruption and embezzlement.
He dwelt on situations where officials caught in the act end up serving time in jail after being found guilty, though there are no efforts to ensure that the stolen funds are recovered before the individuals are jailed.
It’s very unfortunate that this is a common case and hardly has anybody noticed.
As a matter of fact, some officials have had this loophole up their sleeve, as one of the tricks to secure a ‘bright future’ for themselves, their families and relatives.
In a one off, they pocket a reasonably large amount of money which they use to establish businesses for their families secure posh residences and set up all kinds of securities before they run out of luck.
Eventually when the long arm of the law catches up with them, they are well assured that the future is secured.
All they can do is go through the court proceedings smiling, with their ‘happy’ families watching from the public arena.
The unlucky ones who never thought of hiring an expert legal team to argue themselves out of the case will have a 10 year sentence ‘slapped’ on them which they will happily serve, well knowing that they will come out of the ‘University of Understanding’ to retire honourably.
This has become a trend and it’s very common that when a certain Mr.X is arrested on corruption charges, public talk will be ‘even though he has been arrested, he left his family well planned for’. As a country that has a zero tolerance for corruption, this is not acceptable.
Mechanisms should be put in place to ensure that whatever is stolen is recovered first, before the individual serves their jail term, by all possible means. This gives assurance to the taxpayer and is a lesson to those who intend to steal from public funds.
One last thing we would expect in this struggle against corruption, are sentiments. Once in a while you hear people trying to be sympathetic to particular people arrested because they were known to them and they try to shift the blame on the government, arguing that it has turned against its own people.
How about saying that those who steal public funds are the ones turning against their government and country?
Food for thought.