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Five Rwandan officials arrested over embezzlement, nepotism

Five Rwandan officials arrested over embezzlement, nepotism

Rwanda

Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) in Burera District have arrested five former and current top district officials over alleged malpractices including misuse of public property and illegal award of public procurement.

Those in detention are; Samuel Sembagare and Joseph Zaraduhaye who were former mayor and vice mayor respectively in charge of economic development and Evariste Habumuremyi the current vice mayor in charge of economic development.

Others are Stanislas Mujyambere the district division manager as well as Raymond Kamanzi the district executive secretary.

They are accused of illegally awarding public procurement contracts and embezzling public funds. Those are crimes which were committed since 2013 to date.

The development was confirmed to Rwandan local news portal The New Times on Wednesday morning by Modeste Mbabazi, RIB spokesperson who revealed that the crimes were committed from 2013.

“They are accused of illegally awarding public procurement contracts and embezzling public funds. Those are crimes which were committed since 2013 to date,” he said in a phone interview.

Mbabazi said the accused are currently detained at the RIB station at Rusarabuye, adding that they were detained Tuesday following preliminary investigations.

He however pointed out that investigations are still ongoing and also concerns Florence Uwambajemariya, the district mayor who also served in the last term as vice mayor in charge of social affairs.

Tender process questioned

On Monday, Burera District officials had appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of parliament where lawmakers raised a red flag over a tender that was awarded to a contractor who had quoted abnormally low prices for assorted stationary materials.

Some of the items that the contractor would have bought include a printer that was given a value of Rwf2,000, a photocopying machine that was given a value of Rwf10,000 and scanner that was quoted at Rwf3,000 among other items.

On probing further, it was established that the same contractor had over priced other items which he supplied and those that had been under-priced were eventually never supplied.

According to available information, the contractor deliberately, and acting on inside information, quoted low prices well knowing that these items would not be needed by the district, while those that were over-priced were the ones that were needed and which he later supplied.

Mbabazi explained that this saga lies behind other reasons which pushed RIB to open an investigation that should bring to more officials arrest.

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