Rwanda Parliament has asked the University of Rwanda to clean up its house in administration, finance and project management if the institution is to live up to its core values of educating the cream of the country.
Parliament Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Tuesday probed the University of Rwanda (UR) for faulting national health insurance policy and deviating staff insurance premium into their own localized insurance services (UR insurance).
The UR insurance was formed years ago when the university was known as the National University of Rwanda (NUR) and was meant to insure students and staff.
When the NUR was restructured to integrate all public universities and colleges into UR, the parliament discovered that the university maintained its in-house insurance but deducted health insurance premiums from newly recruited staff as contribution to their insurance instead of Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB).
UR deducted a total of Rwf334, 7 million but declared only Rwf321, 1 million hence, the difference of Rwf13, 610,288 was not declared.
UR Management explained that this was attributable to lack of RSSB affiliation numbers for some UR staff.
Normally any salaried civil servant is supposed to make a monthly health and pension contribution to the RSSB an amount automatically deducted from their salaries.
PAC asked the university where it gets the authority to not have its staff in the RSSB health insurance policy.
UR officials told Parliament that they have two insurance policies (UR and RSSB) and their staff were required to have either of them but university insurance was a general consent from the past practice
However MPs didn’t find logic in denying staff their right to have a national insurance policy over a localized one at institutional level.
“This means that for these years you have denied your staff the opportunity to enjoy a broadly covered medical policy. This is unlawful, “PAC chairperson Valens Muhakwa said.
MP Jean Claude Nzeyimana said it is okay to prefer one insurance to another but wondered why the alleged transferred money (Rwf13m) cannot be traced at RSSB as contribution from UR staff.
“The said amount payment had no trace of person’s contributions. Where is the money?” Nzeyimana asked.
The UR Human Resource (HR) and Chief Budget Manager (CBM) told the committee that payment were made to RSSB however the mistake committed was of not declaration.
“We commit to resolve this issue with clarity on insurance policy and show proof of the money,” said Belyse Mukeshimana the UR CBM.
The university was also cautioned on mismanagement of public resources, funds, failure to implement key education projects except the Africa Centre of Excellence for Data Science which had minor issues of failures to recover.
For instance the UR had failed to implement the construction of Rusizi learning complex of which 98% of the contact was paid yet no tangible activities on ground.
The report showed that in May 2016, UR signed a contract with SEEGEC (Societé d’Étude, Execution de Genie Civil et Commerce) LTD worth Rwf3, 8billion for large construction works of learning and teaching complex building of the UR Rusizi Campus.
The construction works were initially to be executed within a period of 15 calendar months. On 03 October 2017, an addendum of works worth Rwf574, 9million tax inclusive on initial contract was signed and the total contract amount became Rwf4, 4billion with initial period extended for 7 months starting from 03 October 2017 to 03 April 2018. Following several demands done by the contractor, the contractor was granted 2 other extensions up to 14 October 2018.
The latest supervision report dated on 03 December 2018 which was prepared by S.I.E.I Ltd (Societé d’Ingenierie d’Expertise et Importation), the Supervising Company indicated that the completion rate was at 99% and the actual total amount paid on this contract was Rwf4,3billion representing 98 % of the total contract amount.
Apparently the contractor was not able to complete works such as constructing an access road, surrounding constructed water treatment plant exposed to soil erosion, no fence separating the Teaching and Learning Complex with neighboring citizens, no retaining wall at backside and a nonfunctional elevator/Lift among others.
“How can you pay contractors such a percentage when the work which was supposed to be done is lacking? MP Christine Bakundufite asked.
UR officials said that some of the activities were not in the contract agreements and have had to be reconsidered afresh, but PAC said that the UR had in the previous hearing committed to resolving this in vain.
Financially, the UR report showed gross accounting errors with Rwf92m in outdated cheques sitting in their books, which normally would be removed after two months if not debited or credited.
The Auditor General said same was for their Integrated Education Management Information System (IEMIS) which has not been fully maximized and that is the reason for UR continued performance failures.
UR Board Chair and Vice, Dr. Paul Davenport and Dr. Diane Karusisi assured parliament these issues will be resolved come 2022 evaluations.