By Jean d’Amour Mbonyinshuti
The Integrity Pact, that monitors the procurement and tender process of public infrastructure projects, shows that corruption and mismanagement of funds is still rampant.
Transparency International Rwanda (TIR) released the report after monitoring nine infrastructure projects in four districts; namely Musanze, Rubavu, Huye and Kayonza.
It shows that, in most projects, integrity pacts were not signed, participation of bidders significantly increased, contract durations were not respected, and citizens were not involved in various phases.
It was also realised that, some materials were ignored; contracts were not proportional to the works which require amendments, destroyed properties not paid for, among others.
It cites the construction of Rwf375 million phase III handcraft centre in Rubavu District, where only 20 per cent of workers were paid on time while only 36 per cent of the residents were informed about the project.
In Musanze, the distance was miscalculated for the construction of Musanze-Nyakinama road worth Rwf12.3 billion.
Water channels, speed bumps, pavements, among others, were also missing.
Marie Immaculée Ingabire, the chairperson of Transparency International, Rwanda, said that in Public Finance Management they introduced integrity pacts to provide an opportunity for independent procurement monitoring at various stages.
The areas, she said, include planning, bidding, implementation and evaluation of important projects in districts.
She noted that the introduction of ICT component in monitoring as a web-based platform and social audits where citizens can provide their inputs on important aspects will keep the procurement process corruption free, transparent and inclusive.
“Public procurement in Rwanda remains most prone to corruption due to the amounts involved in public procurement, on the one hand, and the imbalanced bargaining power between the service seekers and providers at the decentralised entities on the other,” Ingabire said.
“Limited independent monitoring from non-state actors on public contracts and low level of bottom-up accountability were still prevalent,” she added.
Ingabire warned that the findings from the monitoring show some risks of corruption and embezzlement.
“Mostly those are delays in payment of contractors, unlawful addendums to contracts, and the capacity around the procured projects whose information remains at the discretion of officials in charge of procurement, and very few bidders who are always the ones awarded contracts,” she warned.
Apollinaire Mupiganyi, the executive director of TI-Rwanda, said corruption in public procurement of infrastructure has a negative impact on poverty alleviation and infrastructural development.
“Stakeholders need to join forces for better prevention, government authorities also need to ensure that perpetrators are apprehended and assets recovered,” he said.
The Integrity Pact is a tool developed in the 1990’s by Transparency International to help governments, businesses and civil society to fight corruption in the field of public contracting.
It establishes mutual contractual rights and obligations to reduce the high cost and distortionary effects of corruption in public contracting.
In Rwanda, the integrity pact was introduced in 2012.
Xavier Mbarubukeye, the permanent secretary at the Office of Ombudsman hailed TI- Rwanda, saying it contributes to the fight against corruption and misuse of public funds .
He described the integrity pact as a powerful tool that promotes transparency.
“Unlike other corruption control tools, the integrity pact serves as a preventive mechanism,” he noted.
According to Yves Bernard Ningabire, the director general, planning, monitoring and evaluation, at the Ministry of Local Government, the findings are relevant as they reveal real picture in local authorities’ procurement process.
Source : The New Times