Home Business & TechEconomy RAB Blamed for Systemic Failure to Manage Key Development Contacts

RAB Blamed for Systemic Failure to Manage Key Development Contacts

by Daniel Sabiiti
3:42 pm

Irrigation Mobilisation in Bugesera District,15 November 2021-Credit Photo: Minagri

Rwanda Agriculture Board(RAB) has been blamed for failing to manage tenders, contracts and projects which has led to the government losing billions in funds over the years.

The Parliament Accounts Committee (PAC) hearing of September 9, 2023 showed that this has resulted in RAB not being able to change its adverse opinion which the Auditor General’s report highlighted once again in the fiscal year 2021/22 audits.

For instance, PAC showed that RAB has a problem with contract management seen in the contract for the supply of irrigation equipment, where there were re-contracting items at different prices and similar items included in the same contract at different prices.

“These discrepancies are too many to the extent they cost government a loss of Rwf 80million, and at some point the prices were exaggerated for instance in the Mahama irrigation (Lot I and II) contract which had differences in unit prices and caused a loss of over Rwf1 billion,”

The other is the framework agreement on renovating irrigation equipment

Clarisse Umutoni, the RAB Chief Finance Officer explained that the cause was the Exim bank procurement booklet which had repetitive items and by the time of the audit it was not reversible.

“We asked for a non- objection and there was nothing paid,” Umutoni said.

However, MPs said that there was a loss in terms of delays where for example in both Mahama contracts there was $69,000 in charges incurred as loss on the project.

These delays affected the project timelines. For instance, at the time of the audit Mahama Lot1 was supposed to be complete by 24/6/2023, but by 16/2/2023, its activities were at 25%; while Mahama, Lot 2 was at 24%.

PAC asked the RAB CFO to explain the discrepancies in unit prices for similar equipment in both Lots (which are in the same place and bid at the same time) but she couldn’t. She rather stated that they followed the prices offered by bidders and did their own market survey.

“Even if it was an increase in the exchange rates, the prices cannot go up ten times and cause losses in billions,”.

“This issue is not only seen in the Mahama projects but all RAB projects and this is your biggest problem…This is the reason why you get an adverse opinion every year,” MP Jean d’Arc Uwimanimpaye said.

MP Christine Bakundufite showed that in two separate tenders (Nikki production and ETS), one contract bidder billed an item at Rwf1.1million while the other had Rwf141,000 on the same item.

“Don’t you see this difference of 870,000 as being bizarre on the same item,” She asked. “Don’t you have the responsibility of negotiating to use one bidder who is cheaper?” Bakundufite said.

The RAB procurement officer Sebastian Harera said they used the market prices but failed to explain how the two bidders were both offered the contracts without questioning the prices in the tender committee.

Rwanda Public Procurement Authority (RPPA) Division Manager for Research, Capacity Development and Monitoring, Pierre Celestin Sibomana said that they should explain why they took the high price and the CFO said that from previous experience they offered lower price bidders but found it was below the market price (surveyed).

Uwimanimpaye said this is already a loss (Rwf68million) and no matter the survey RAB was negligent in being diligent while analyzing the tender bid and these contract executions should be examined in the next audit to find the underlying tricks.

Haruna Twaha, the OAG Audit manager said that the mistakes were corrected on field and there was no proof for their market survey and went ahead to list their own price caps.

As part of the problem PAC also showed that the road connecting to the Mahama projects was poorly constructed due to lack of day-to-day monitoring. The contractor was paid 85%- $304,980 equal to Rwf312,446,644 for the poorly constructed road.

The parliament also showed issues in implementing a contract on construction of a centre of excellence in farm Mechanization which the government had secured a $120 million loan from Eximbank to help set up the centre so as to reach 50% agriculture mechanization by 2024.

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