President Paul Kagame on June 27 read the riot act at an address to the Rwanda Patriotic Front National Executive Committee (NEC) ahead of Liberation Day celebrations on July 4.
President Kagame was ticked off by the latest Auditor General’s report, which shows that irregular and unexplained expenditures cost the government Rwf8.6 billion ($9 million) in 2019, up from Rwf5.6 billion ($5.8 million) in 2018.
President Kagame appears to have taken the bull by the horns warning senior officials; “No one will get away with it this time,” and asked the youth-wing in the ruling party to pay close attention since they will one day take over the mantle as the “leaders of tomorrow.”
June 28 was given as the deadline for all public officials to declare their assets and by press time (last Friday) 11,000 out of 12,000 public servants had presented their documents.
The government’s intention is to unearth top officials whose wealth cannot be explained. According to the Ombudsman’s Office, 15 top officials and their accomplices are being investigated for hiding assets.
This came at a time when influential members of the RPF, including Minister of Infrastructure Claver Gatete, former Minister of Internal Security Gen Patrick Nyamvumba, who previously served as the Chief of Defence Staff, and Emmanuel Gasana, the former Inspector General of Police who most recently served as governor of the Southern Province, are currently under investigation over alleged embezzlement of public funds and corruption.
Kagame accused the senior officials of lacking commitment to protect national resources against embezzlement and misuse.
“There is innocent blood that was spilled to liberate this nation; and now some of you are simply playing with that by stealing public resources. I promise you; people are going to start paying,” he told a very silent NEC gathering at the RPF Secretariat in Rusororo, Kigali.
“Misusing national resources and making public resources your own personal property must stop, like it or not. It is over like it or not.”
Zero-tolerance to corruption has been the cornerstone of RPF’s manifesto but lately, the party has been dogged by multiple scandals.