Rwanda Development Board has been commended for improving its collaboration and communication with other institutions which has improved its financial and information systems.
In the previous Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) hearing the board was blamed for not having an IT system that is readily connected to other institutions for revenue collection thus setting back information management and business development.
In the 2020 PAC evaluation RDB was accused of not having a proper tourism revenue collection system with service providers like Irembo online services where tourists pay for visits.
The above audit report showed that $408,486 (equivalent to Rwf363, 3 million national parks’ permits paid between August 2018 and January 2019 were not recorded on RDB accounts.
They were reportedly embezzled by an RDB staff who handled cash payments and didn’t enter the receipts.
The board was asked to move from cash to cashless and put up a proper financial system that can read and coordinate data at every point including taxes, registration among others.
Back then the RDB board vice chairperson, Evelyne Kamagaju and his team committed to improving this area of concern.
In a 2021 PAC hearing – Septermber 13, PAC Chair Valens Muhakwa said that since then the board has managed to have a clean audit in compliance /value for money, and financial audits.
However Muhakwa said that the board still has weaknesses in implementing Auditor General’s recommendations where three out of eight recommendations only were implemented at 100%.
The rest were implemented at below 17% including the shift to cashless.
Zephanie Niyonkuru RDB Deputy CEO informed parliament that they the shift to cashless is work in progress.
“This issue will not surface again because we have support from the Ministry of Finance to improve our financial records, ” Niyonkuru said.
He also informed PAC that the system in which the suspected employee pocketed cash payments has been revamped.
“We have changed the system security requirements. The information management and access was made harder rather than instant as before,” Niyonkuru said.
Meanwhile, Niyonkuru explained that the suspects’ property has been confiscated pending court decision.
This could save RDB the earlier task in which PAC recommended recovery of the lost funds.
More IT Work Demanded
MP Muhakwa said that the board has done a good job but can do better in its IT systems especially in registration of mortgages.
The AG audit noted that system is not interfaced with financial institutions to automatically capture payments information which is largely entered manually.
This is on top of shortfalls of the system in regard to signing Abstract of Mortgage Agreement (AoMA) and steps leading to it.
The audit noted that the system lacks controls to prevent approval of mortgage registration prior to the signing of abstract of mortgage agreement.
As a result, 238 registered mortgages indicate that they were approved before signing the AoMA.
“Therefore, lack of system control to prevent approval of mortgage registration before signing of abstract of mortgage agreement may lead to register mortgages without consent of the property owner,” the AG report said.
With this, the AG recommended RDB management to enhance the electronic Mortgage Registration System (eMRS) control to prevent any inconvenience.
Also faults in the system showed that it lacks validation controls over mortgage start and termination dates.
The review noted that the system allows mortgage termination date to be set before approval of mortgage. During the reporting period, fourteen (14) mortgages were set to be terminated before approval dates.
Furthermore, the system does not prevent applicants to register mortgages with wrong termination periods. 15 registered mortgages indicated termination or mortgage end dates span over a very long period ranging between 90 to 7,021 years.
MP Muhakwa said that all the above issues must be resolved with help of government ICT organs.