Some of the arrears accumulated by Rwanda Energy Group (REG) will never be recovered – the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) has testified before parliament.
The 2016 Auditor General’s (OAG’s) report indicates that REG and WASAC have mismanaged materials worth Rwf15.2 billion.
During scrutiny by parliament on Wednesday, it was discovered that REG has, for example not been able to reconcile undocumented funds amounting to Rwf8 billion (out of 32 billion) and Rwf2.4 billion without supporting documents.
“We want a clean and fresh start. To start all over again we will need a cut off. This will stop the recurring debts which we cannot basically recover because some debtor companies have been liquidated and former clients expropriated,” said Jean Bosco Mugiraneza the former CEO of REG.
On Wednesday, the Ministry of Infrastructure and REG board members appeared before the Parliamentary Accountability Committee (PAC) to present progress made in line with the 2016 OAG recommendations.
REG showed that it has streamlined 135 queries out of the 147, and only 12 were in progress.
The queries are in categories of financial management, stock management, administrative, technical and service delivery.
“We have given the company and stakeholders up to November 21st to give us a feedback report on the changes that will be made. Otherwise the organic laws will be evoked to take measures,” PAC chairman, Juvenal Nkusi said.
In defense, REG officials said that the financial mess was carried forward from previous OAG reports and these incoherence’s have been carried on each year for the last three years.
Auditor General Obadiah Biraro said that these financial discrepancies have continued to surface in the company because of lack of timely reporting and supporting documents.
Parliamentarians stated that this issue is not who is responsible for the financial mistakes but the collaboration between the line ministries and shareholders ministry of Finance and Infrastructure.
“Both ministries should be responsible for using internal resources to prepare books of accounts before the audits are done and this should have been done immediately during the transition of restructuring the companies,” lawmaker Theogene Munyangeyo said.
Some parliamentarians thought that the OAG office should also be responsible for the poor financial audit and timely reporting.
However, Obadiah stated that even before and after restructuring EWASA financial officers didn’t do a good job.
“You cannot believe that we spent a whole day in a meeting over financially wrong statements. This is because the CFO (chief finance officers) have not showed their value yet. The next report will show how smart such entities have adjusted or this will be taken as a violation of the OAG,” Biraro said.
REG holding company was formerly part of the Energy Water and Sanitation Authority (EWASA) which was restructured three years ago into two separate organs- REG and WASAC.
REG Chief executive Ron Weiss said there is a bright future for both energy development and service delivery in the company.
PAC is expected to screen and access progress of 22 institutional heads and mayors in a two-week public hearings concerning management issues contained in the 2014/15 Auditor-General’s report.