Anticipated reforms to reinforce Rwanda’s continuous anti-corruption efforts

By Esther Muhozi
On 6 February 2024 at 01:26

The Rwandan government remains committed to combating and preventing corruption within key justice institutions, including the police, prosecution, and judiciary.

The ’Rwanda Bribery Index’ report by Transparency International Rwanda in December 2023 highlighted the Traffic Safety Police Department as the most corrupt, with a rate of 16.4%.

The report also identified corrupt practices within Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB), where a total of Rwf 3,860,000 out of Rwf4,527,000, was offered to secure the release of individuals in RIB custody.

The prosecution and the judiciary were ranked second and third, with staff receiving average bribes of Rwf200,000and Rwf153,000, respectively.

Addressing reporters on January 30, 2024, ACP Emmanuel Karasi, Commissioner for Inspectorate of Services and Ethics in Rwanda Police, acknowledged the existence of corruption in these institutions. He emphasized the need for cooperation to effectively combat it.

Karasi stated, "We all agree that we still have a long way to go. It requires us to cooperate and admit that corruption exists. If we deny it, it means that it will be difficult to put efforts to fight it."

To prevent corruption, ACP Karasi emphasized the importance of cooperation and information sharing, noting that tackling corruption requires joint efforts from both those corrupting and those receiving bribes.

The Deputy Ombudsman in charge of Preventing and Fighting Injustice, Abbas Mukama announced various reforms aimed at preventing and fighting corruption in these institutions.

He highlighted the establishment of the National Advisory Council for Anti-Corruption a month ago, led by the Minister of Justice, to provide direction, report every six months, and address corruption loopholes.

Mukama expressed confidence in the advisory council’s ability to offer solutions and create policies to combat corruption effectively.

Judiciary Spokesperson, Mutabazi Harrison announced the establishment of an inspection body and a special inspector dedicated to addressing corruption and injustice within the courts.

He clarified that court audits aim to identify, prevent, and report corruption without compromising the independence of the courts or their staff.

Additionally, Mutabazi announced the appointment of a special inspector to monitor corruption and injustice on a daily basis.

To handle economic crimes more effectively, a special chamber was instituted, separating them from civil and criminal cases. Mutabazi explained the need for specialized treatment due to the intricate nature of serious crimes like corruption and embezzlement.

He highlighted Rwanda’s unique system of case review on grounds of injustice, emphasizing its importance in ensuring accountability and preventing impunity. Mutabazi emphasized that this process allows for the reconsideration of cases, even after legal procedures have been exhausted.

Reforms in the Supreme Council of the Judiciary include enhanced decision-making authority without the possibility of appeal.

In the Rwanda Investigation Bureau, Deputy Secretary-General Consolée Kamarampaka outlined the role of the Inspection unit in monitoring the release and imprisonment of individuals, ensuring decisions are made collaboratively.

Further judicial reforms focus on fighting corruption, including the prescription of outdated practices, modernizing court technology for quicker trials and staff performance monitoring, implementing the ’Clear the Courts’ program, and establishing anti-corruption committees at all levels.