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Rwanda - Corruption

The law provides criminal penalties for corruption by officials. While the government continued to make implementation of these laws a national priority, corruption remained a problem. Transparency International Rwanda and other civil society organizations reported that the government investigated and prosecuted reports of petty corruption among police and government officials. Police frequently undertook internal investigations and sting operations in order to discourage corruption among police officers.

There were numerous reports throughout the year 2013 that government officials at the national, district, and cell levels manipulated or falsified statistics in order to meet development targets.

International and domestic investors reported that the government generally supported the establishment of new businesses in policy and practice. Nevertheless, investors reported contract disputes with the government and stated that they were subject to arbitrary tax, immigration, and investment rules.

Domestic investors at times encountered business difficulties as a result of political disputes. For example, in October investor Tribert Rujugiro Ayabatwa alleged that the government illegally seized ownership of the Union Trade Center, a shopping mall he built in 2006, after he went into self-imposed exile in South Africa. Rujugiro appealed the seizure of the center to the Kigali city government but had not filed a lawsuit in court by years end.

The NPPA prosecuted civil servants, police, and other officials for fraud, petty corruption, illegal awarding of public tenders, and mismanagement of public assets. The NPPA, under the Justice Ministry, is responsible for prosecuting police abuse cases. The RNP Inspectorate of Services investigated cases of police misconduct, but statistics were not available for the year.

The RNP suspended police officers for corruption, abuse of power, or misconduct and imposed administrative punishment for indiscipline. The RNP referred criminal offenses committed by police to the NPPA, and several prosecutions were underway at years end. The RNP advertised a toll-free hotline number in the local radio and press and provided complaint and compliment boxes in many communities to encourage citizens to report both positive and negative behavior by police and the LDF.

The Office of the Auditor General worked to prevent corruption, including by investigating improper tendering practices at government ministries. The RNP and the NPPA used the auditor generals annual report to pursue investigations into government businesses. The Office of the Ombudsman led the National Anticorruption Council and had an active good governance program and several local-level anticorruption units. The office pursued many corruption cases, the majority of which involved misuse of public funds.

The Rwanda Governance Board monitored governance more broadly and promoted mechanisms to control corruption. The Rwanda Revenue Authoritys Anticorruption Unit had a code of conduct and an active mechanism for internal discipline. The National Tender Board, the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency, and the National Bureau of Standards also enforced regulations.

The law incorporates whistleblower protections and provides for monetary compensation for information on acts of corruption and related offenses.

The constitution and law require annual reporting of income and assets by public officials as well as reporting upon entry into and exit from office. There is no requirement for public disclosure of those assets except in cases where irregularities are discovered. The Office of the Ombudsman, which monitors and verifies disclosures, reported that most officials complied with the requirement. In cases of noncompliance, the Office of the Ombudsman has the power to impose administrative sanctions, which often involved loss of position or prosecution.

Embezzlement is a criminal offense that is litigated separately from other corruption-related crimes. The NPPA reported 483 convictions stemming from 258 cases of embezzlement in 2015-16. A total of 128 individuals were either acquitted of embezzlement or had charges dropped due to insufficient evidence during the year 2016.

In July 2016 police arrested the former mayor of Gicumbi District on suspicion of embezzlement. During the year the NPPA and the Office of the Ombudsman opened investigations into 110 local leaders and government officials for corruption and embezzlement of up to 500 million Rwandan francs ($617,000) from government programs to aid the poor. There were reports district officials manipulated health insurance enrollment and socioeconomic classification statistics to appear to meet development targets, and observers noted some of the funds likely went missing due to mismanagement rather than theft.

International and domestic investors reported the government strongly supported the establishment of businesses, including through one-stop business licensing efforts that generally resulted in business registration within 72 hours. Nevertheless, investors reported contract disputes with the government and arbitrary enforcement of tax, immigration, and investment rules.

The NPPA prosecuted civil servants, police, and other officials for fraud, petty corruption, awarding of public tenders illegally, and mismanagement of public assets. Under the Ministry of Justice, the NPPA is also responsible for prosecuting police abuse cases. The RNP Inspectorate of Services investigated cases of police misconduct, and in 2014 the RNP launched an anticorruption unit.

Authorities arrested two police officers on corruption charges during the year 2016 and dismissed another 33 in December 2015 for misconduct, indiscipline, and abuse of power. In August the government also dismissed with disgrace 14 RCS officers for gross misconduct and corruption. The RNP advertised a toll-free hotline number on local radio and in the press and provided deposit boxes in many communities to encourage citizens to report both positive and negative police and DASSO behavior.





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Page last modified: 29-07-2017 18:15:54 ZULU