University of Rwanda mired in gross financial indiscipline

Published by Théophile Niyitegeka
On 5 May 2017 saa 04:08
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The University of Rwanda has been found to be mired in gross financial indiscipline, poor contracts management, incoherent internal and external financial control measures and outright negligence in the observation of professional financial reporting standards, the Auditor General has observed.

As he presented the financial audit report of government entities for the year ended 30th June 2016 to parliament on Wednesday this week, the Auditor General, Obadiah Biraro unveiled that University of Rwanda spent Rwf 46 billion but books of accounts are dotted with mistakes, where some incomes ad expenditures are unaccounted for.

Biraro explained that UR comes on top among entities failing to implement recommendations of the Auditor General as it executed previous audit recommendations at only 77%.

According to the report, some of the incongruous activities include a contractor who won a tender of expanding the a veterinary school worth Rwf 3.7 billion but abandoned the project in December 2015; even after receiving a staggering Rwf 1 billion which was, to make matters worse, released without proper documentation. Another release involved Rwf 240 million that was misused and Rwf 421 million released without authorization.

In a similar spate of misappropriation in such lightning succession, the Ministry of Health paid over Rwf 170 million to a former employee of University of Rwanda account instead of the latter’s. Contracts of constructing classrooms worth Rwf 1.3 billion at Rukara College are reported to have been delayed for more than 437 days and, among others, the Auditor identified forged guarantees for two tenders worth Rwf 3.7 billion.

Unrecovered money

The Auditor General report indicates that Rwf 2.2 billion was earned by Rukara College and Rwf 534 million earned by Kavumu College but how the money was spent is not recorded in financial books of accounts for both Universities.

It was further revealed that The University of Rwanda owes Rwf 969 million as arrears to pensioners which is however not reflected in financial books. Besides, there is a total amount of Rwf 665 million paid by students to university account but the university authorities are unaware of why and can’t identify individual students who made the payments.

An additional Rwf 2.4 billion earned is not accounted for while accountability of Rwf 95 million is incomplete. The university records show that it is owed Rwf 7.1 billion by students but management cannot identify particular students that owe them the money. The University does not either account for Rwf 764 million it is claiming to have used for lecturers’ transport and compensation for extra time.

A total of 116 lecturers work less compared to the expected working hours while other lecturers received Rwf 201 million in extra work payments.

Poor reflection

MP Kankera M. Josée lauded efforts in management of government resources but said it is frustrating to see a university which should be a distinct example leading the mismanagement pack.

“There is something saddening. When you get deeper into management of the University of Rwanda resources, where we expect experts in management only to be met with explicit loopholes, then it does not reflect well on our current and future national performance s,” she said.

The Auditor General Obadia Biraro said that the University of Rwanda is discrediting the fame of alumnus if it can’t practice what it teaches.

“There is a need to revise the way they make financial books of accounts. They can as well work with some of their students in some assessment reports to make financial books complete,” he said.

It is four years since the government of Rwanda merged all public universities and higher learning institutes into one ‘University of Rwanda’ (UR).The latter is comprised of six colleges and 14 branches teaching various courses countrywide.

The decision was expected to boost quality education and tackle mismanagement in public universities and higher learning institutions.

However two previous consecutive Auditor General’s reports have been indicating mismanagement problems at the UR.

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University of Rwanda headquarters