Home NewsNational UR Admits Mismanagement of Billions in Public Funds

UR Admits Mismanagement of Billions in Public Funds

4:59 pm

From L-R Pudence Rubingisa, Diane Karusisi and Phil Cotton the UR’s top officials

The National University of Rwanda (UR) could face administrative measures for poor management of billions of funds after it was unified as a single institution in 2013.

The Rwanda Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) pinned the board and chancellors of the National University of Rwanda on grounds of total negligence which lead the institution failure to account for billions of funds.

For example the current university officials could not account for 26percent -equivalent to over Rwf1.04billion that was paid in Rwf3.8billion tender to a company to build the proposed veterinary section at Umutara Polytechnic (UP) in Nyagatare District.

The 18month tender process signed in June 2014 ended without anything tangible constructed but a foundation (worth Rwf308 million) to the structure which has stalled according to Office of the Auditor General’s (OAG) report of fiscal year 2013/2014.

“We are going to act on these mistakes on the administrative and legal areas,” said Dr. Diane Karusisi the UR vice chairperson of board of directors.

The Deputy vice chancellor of UR for Administration and Finance Pudence Rubingisa, also said  some of the mistakes were identified, but “were caused by a transition in the system to merge all the nine government universities under one.”

But this was not convincing enough as per PAC.

“We don’t want administrative action because the time you were supposed to do so has passed. We want legal action and immediate follow up on people who are responsible,” said Hon Juvenal Nkusi the PAC chairman during today’s hearing at parliament.

To parliamentarians, the whole some of money alleged to have been wasted; no one has been penalized in due process yet the suspects are there and some are still holding fatty jobs in UR.

“This is a stinky case of corruption and this case must be followed up immediately and quickly,” said Nkusi.

National Public Prosecution Authority (NPPA) said that the Nyagatare case is already under the eye of investigators and the lawsuit has been submitted to court pending a full inquiry before trial of suspects involved in the above tender-which experts say was a result of corruption.

Antoine Kayira Nsengiyumva, the Rwanda Public Procurement Authority (RPPA) says that the list of people who should be prosecuted for intentional negligence, by law, should include the tendered company, UR engineer on grounds, the tendering board and UR administration which released the funds.

Failure to take administrative action at UR has seen at least Rwf 1.6billion of unrecovered funds in students’ school fees and over Rwf49millions paid to UR account without evidence.

The university also used Rwf59million to pay lawsuits in which it was sued as a result of individual errors, and millions in expired unbanked cheque payments discovered three months after being signed.

This is coupled with un-reconciled funds and lack of follow up, like a mismatch between money collected and the actual number of students on campus, delayed payment of lecturers’ salaries and over time-which are extended to other fiscal years.

This mismatch created a difference of Rwf25million in salaries.

Members PAC and the Auditor General Obadiah Biraro said that this gross negligence has been the main cause of the institution’s poor performance which affected lecturers and students.

However Rubingisa defended that there is lack of training in accounting system which had been purchased by the government on a grant basis.

Biraro said this was a lame excuse. He attributed the problem to negligence and reluctance to take appropriate action on staff.

The UR officials have been tasked to come up with a concrete measure and action plan that will see these problems resolved immediately.