The Rwanda parliament has asked that the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) be given prosecution powers to clamp down on officials who continue to neglect responsibility thus causing more losses in government expenditure.
The call comes after a 2018 OAG report presented to both parliaments today showed that despite action on misuse of government funds, more expensive equipment of unimplemented projects lie idle and expenditures remain unaccounted for by officials.
Compared to the previous audit, the report showed that there was a reduction from Rwf17billion to Rwf5billion in funds used and which didn’t have evidence.
The report observed that 74% of the unqualified opinions were from projects. Projects also contributed approximately 49% of the qualified opinions. Districts and City of Kigali made up approximately 51% of the adverse opinion.
Government projects in general had the worst accounts and performance, with a total value of idle assets amounting to over Rwf15billion and stalled projects stood at over Rwf35billion of which Projects held Rwf6.1 and Rwf24.9billion respectively.
In Energy Development Corporation Limited (EDCL) the OAG discovered that Rwf5.6 billion stock has no proof.
This poor performance according to the OAG was also seen in negligence of responsibility in managing tendered contracts, which resulted to major delays in implementation, costing government Rwf136.1billion.
“The OAG should and only asks for these documents because it’s a requirement and documents must be intact for at least 10 years. How can OAG come in six months and you say that there are no documents?” said Obadiah Biraro.
“If possible the OAG should be given prosecution powers, not only to be a body that examines public finance but act with or go with police powers so that official involved can be immediately arrested. If we give them these prosecution powers we can solve this issue in two or three years,” DR. Frank Habineza suggested.
Biraro said that his body has enough powers and action can be taken at judicial level but lamented the increasing level of negligence to responsibility by some officials.
MP Ignacienne Nyirarukundo said that for 11 years the OAG has been helping government to improve management of funds but excuses have been changing from year to year.
“First we had issue of capacity and it was solved, then the issue of staffing and we increased numbers. We want to know what has been recovered in these years,” Nyirarukundo said.
While some MPs suggested more training and an option of imprisoning or firing officials, MP Christine Muhongayire said that it’s important to focus on finding the root cause of the failures in public accounting.
“We need to go to another level of research to find out why this is still happening- if it’s low capacity and knowhow we can train them, ” Muhongayire said.