PAC orders Kamonyi District to recover Rwf 6.9 million fraudulently lost five years ago

By Nicole Kamanzi M.
On 7 October 2020 at 08:59

Parliament Accounts Committee (PAC) has ordered Kamonyi district administration and its council to refund money that was embezzled by one of their former district pharmacy accountants five year ago.

The order comes after the PAC discovered that Rwf17million meant for payment of medicine supplied was transferred to a private account number in the names of the district official in question.

Kamonyi district officials explained the at this officer in question doctored the account names of payee from Camerwa- now the Medical Procurement and Production Division (MPPD)) to his personal account.

The district said they didn’t notice this embezzlement move on time and the suspect managed to withdraw over Rwf6.9million. By the time the fraudulent action was discovered only Rwf10million was remaining on the false account.

“By the time we realized it he (the accountant) had manipulated the account numbers transferring the money to his account, but the suspect was arrested, and sentenced to three years- which he served and ordered to refund the balance,” said Emmanuel Bahizi, the Kamonyi district Executive Secretary.

The ES also revealed that for four years now the district has failed to recover the balance even with futile efforts to confiscate the suspect’s property, thus the district council decision in 2019 to write off the debt in their financial reports.

Just like other PAC members, MP Jean d’Arc Uwimanimpaye was not convinced that officer in question managed to change the original account name and have the OP signed by the district chief budget officer (the Executive Secretary) without notice or involvement of other parties.

The District ES said that during the prosecution of the suspect, all top district officials connected to the financial transfers were investigated and the culprit came out as the district pharmacy account.

“The rest of us came out clean but we even found during the investigation that he had done similar fraudulent transactions on other funds,” Bahizi said, adding that after failing to recover the balance, the district council authorized to write of Rwf6.9million as a bad debt.

PAC Chairman Valens Muhakwa was also not convinced the other officials were not involved and questioned why the council quickly took the decision to write off the money without, to the least, following guidance of the ministry of finance and the Office of the Auditor General on the procedure.

“For us (parliament) we see this as lost money because these funds can no longer serve the original purpose. We therefore want to know why you took this decision yet this money was stolen as a result of connivance,” Muhakwa said.

Kamonyi district council Chair Emilien Nyoni and Mayor Etienne Muvunyi tried to defend their ‘write off’ decision and exonerate themselves from the fraud but Muhakwa warned them that they should actually be prepared for another court case or return the money immediately.

This was backed by all PAC members who demanded for a date, month and year when the remaining balance will be returned to Kamonyi district treasury.

“Give us the timeline, we don’t want to hear anymore excuse since this is already a loss that was caused within you authority of which the law provides that in such misuse of funds, the culprits are held responsible,” MP Beline Uwineza stated.

After a long debate in which the Mayor said that they had already received administrative punishments for the incident and the ‘write off’ was their last resort, PAC members settled on having a roadmap to when this money will be recovered.

In response, both the Mayor and Council Chair confirmed a commitment to recover the money in the books of accounts as a debt by next year, of which the debts will have been cleared from the books of accounts and find a way of repaying.

PAC orders Kamonyi District to recover Rwf 6.9 million fraudulently lost five years ago