Burundi - Corruption

The law provides criminal penalties for official corruption, but the government did not fully implement the law, and some high-level government officials continued to engage in corrupt practices with impunity. Corruption remained a very serious problem.

In the Tax and Customs Revenue Authority, the government fired personnel, tightened procedures, and put the authority under foreign management. As a result, tax and revenue collections for 2010 through 2012 increased 76 percent.

The state inspector general and the Anticorruption Brigade of the Ministry of Good Governance and Privatization are responsible for investigating government corruption. Within the judiciary there is a designated anticorruption general prosecutor and an anticorruption court. The Anticorruption Brigade has the authority to investigate, arrest, and refer offenders to the anticorruption general prosecutor.

During the year 2013 the Anticorruption Brigade investigated 193 cases, although the government did not authorize the release of a report on these cases. The brigade claimed its actions prevented more than 9.14 billion Burundian francs ($5.86 million) in losses for the government and that it recovered 318 million Burundian francs ($203,900).

In view of the lengthy backlog of cases in the anticorruption court and the difficulty of obtaining convictions, the Anticorruption Brigade resorted in many instances to enforcing the law through settlements in which the government agreed not to prosecute and the offending official agreed to reimburse the money stolen. The government exercised its power to freeze and seize property and bank assets of officials to compel reimbursement, although corrupt officials were permitted to retain their positions in most cases.

During the year the 2007 fraud case against three senior government officials in connection with a 48.3 billion Burundian franc ($30.9 million) government procurement contract with INTERPETROL was closed. No charges were filed against INTERPETROL or its associates. The case was filed again in 2012 after the Supreme Court chief justice adjudicating the case was threatened against continuing the case and was subsequently dismissed.

The law does not provide protection to public and private employees for making internal disclosures or lawful public disclosures of evidence of illegality.

Weapons and explosives are readily available in Burundi. The Burundian military and police do not adequately secure their weapons and ammunition, and rampant corruption means official weapons and ammunition are often used by criminals. The possibility that a terrorist group could obtain Burundian military and police weapons and explosives using overt or covert means is high. In late July 2008, a soldier working at a logistics base in Musaga attempted to sell 40 RPG-7 rockets and 600,000 rounds of AK-47 ammunition to the FNL.

Burundi's porous borders provide an opportunity for weapons and explosives to be smuggled undetected from neighboring countries, including eastern neighbor Democratic Republic of Congo. The surrounding region is host to a vibrant black market in small arms and grenades, and weapons of this type are always available at low cost. Grenades and automatic weapons are in common use by criminals for crimes as petty as cell phone theft; it would be quite simple for a terrorist element to acquire a significant arsenal.

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Page last modified: 30-05-2015 21:11:26 ZULU