Rwanda losing billions in mismanaged govt contracts

Saturday May 13 2017

Rwanda's Auditor-General Obadiah Biraro. PHOTO | FILE

Rwanda's Auditor-General Obadiah Biraro. PHOTO | FILE 

By Johnson Kanamugire

Auditor-General Obadiah Biraro has yet again decried the mismanagement of government contracts, which cost the government and tax payers billions of Rwandan francs.

The AG in his annual report for the financial year ended June 30, 2016, released last week, highlighted cases of delayed and abandoned public contracts, which have led to losses. He called on government authorities to hold culprits accountable.

The report noted that persistent cases of mismanagement have led to loss of tax payers’ money and also undermined the government’s service delivery. More than 98 contracts worth about Rwf95.7 billion have either been abandoned or delayed compared with 70 contracts worth Rwf32.5 billion the previous year.

Mr Biraro told Members of Parliament that in contracts worth Rwf13.4 billion, the contractors disappeared after receiving payments of over Rwf5.6 billion.

“We need to improve management of resources and stricter parliamentary control,” the AG told legislators.

The report blames budget managers and supervisory authorities for failing to ensure contracts are fulfilled.

Weaknesses in contract management have been cited in past audit reports.

The report list projects that have either been delayed or abandoned namely Water and Sanitation Corporation, Rwanda Energy Group, Rwanda Biomedical Centre, Rwanda Transport Development Agency, Workforce Development Authority and University Of Rwanda.

Others are Rwanda Agriculture Board, Agriculture Ministry and Ministry of Health as well as projects in Rusizi, Bugesera, Muhanga, Nyamasheke, Rutsiro and Rubavu among others.

“Special attention needs to be given to contract management to ensure completion of projects and realisation of value for money,” read the AG’s recommendations.

An analysis of the 2014/15 Auditor-General’s report showed that taxpayers incurred Rwf233 billion in losses, adding to previous amounts that are yet to be recovered.

The 2015/16 report shows that there are still cases of wasteful expenditure, but diversion of public resources and unsupported transactions reduced from Rwf18.9 billion in 2015 to Rwf17.6 billion last year.