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Public Accounts Committee Gets Tough With Ill Prepared Witnesses

3:25 am

A Parliament Accounts Committee (PAC) hearing this morning resolved to cut short the hearing when the Nyamagabe District Executive Secretary was apparently unable to explain the district’s procurement tenders budget for the fiscal year 2018/19.

This is the second time the PAC hearing that started two weeks ago has dismissed officials and organisations which come unprepared. The Business Development Fund (BDF) were the first to feel the displeasure of the committee, and were told to return at a later date, when they were better prepared.

During the hearing held online as part of safety protocols against Covid-19, the committee wanted to know from Nyamagabe Executive Secretary Alfred Ngarambe, how he explained a discrepancy of nearly Rwf350million in the district’s tenders. According to an auditor general’s report, “a weakness mainly attributed to failure to conduct a survey before starting the budget procurement process.”

Although it was Nyamagabe in the spotlight, the Auditor General Office (OAG) has found this to be a problem common with many other districts.

Responses from Ngarambe were contradicted by the OAG, a fact MP Christine Bankudufite wondered about, when the OAG report was based on a site visit and the management comments made by district officials.

After several attempts during which Ngarambe seemed unable to explain most of the questions put to him, the committee chairman had had enough.

“Since you are not ready to explain issues in your docket, I think you need time to go away and prepare,” the chair said, dismissing the Executive Secretary, and asking him to return better prepared.

Before moving on from the case, the committee pointed to Rwf15million that did appear in a private account instead of a district account. The committee was not satisfied with the explanation given, and called for an investigation into what seemed like possible impropriety.  

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