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RDB Commended for Heeding Auditor General’s Recommendations

by Daniel Sabiiti
1:38 am

Bringing and registering businesses is one of core mandates of Rwanda Development Board(RDB)-Pictured here, Afriprecast official(R) explains to President Paul Kagame how they make their construction materials -Afriprecast launch, December 19, 2017. Photo Credit: Urugwiro

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.

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