Lawmakers OK creation of training college for spies

Lawmakers in plenary session
Lawmakers in plenary session

Rwandan lawmakers have endorsed the creation of a special academy that will be training facility for personnel of the country’s intelligence agencies.
Becoming the sixth department in the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), the academy will have special rules and regulations different from Ministry of Education’s guidelines.

Despite a lawmaker suggesting the academy should be integrated in the existing academic institutions as just another faculty, MPs were told that a special design is justified by the NISS special status.

“Despite being a security organ like national police and defence, NISS has a special status thus the need to have an academy with a setup that differs from classic schools to train its current staff and those that will join in the future,” said Minister in Office of the President Tugireyezu Venantie.

The Minister defended the bill in the plenary session of lower chamber on August 4.
The academy will be headed by a Commandant of the National Intelligence Academy who is at the level of Director Generals, to be appointed by the Head of State in a Presidential Order.
Despite the bill being approved by 62 MPs over 67 in the plenary, MP Veneranda Nyirahirwa suggested, “To go by the law, an academy has to be provided in a special law. Provision of a high government institution being integrated in another law is not appropriate.”

For MP Nkusi Juvénal, “the academy should be harmonized to welcome applicants from all security institutions.”
In other provisions, the appointing authority has power to dismiss the Commandant of the National Intelligence Academy and other NISS senior officials on several grounds that were provided by the 2013 law regulating NISS.
The draft law that was approved at lower chamber gives more power to the appointing authority. He/She can dismiss NISS senior officials on ground relating to discretion.
Also new in this bill is a provision on NISS reserve personnel.

“It is a new experience we want to introduce in the new law. We will borrow a leaf from other security organs in the country that have reserve personnel to polish this section,” said Tugireyezu.

The bill gives judicial police of NISS power to conduct preliminary criminal investigations against NISS employee suspected to have committed infractions.
Moreover, the bill changed the appellation of the NISS head office. The old appellation is NISS Secretariat General which has been replaced by the NISS Headquarters.
Introduction of National Intelligence Academy brings the number of NISS departments to be six. The existing departments are: Headquarters, Internal security and external security departments, Finance and Administration department and the directorate general of immigration and of emigration.

Minister Tugireyezu Venantie defending the draft law
Minister Tugireyezu Venantie defending the draft law



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