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Ombudsman warns of new bribery tricks
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Appeared in the Newtimes of January 15, 201

Ombudsman Aloysie Cyanzayire has warned of increasing cases of sophisticated tricks of bribery by some public servants.

Appearing before a committee of senators, yesterday, Cyanzayire said some crafty public servants take bribes from members of the public through mobile money in return for services that are meant to be free.

“We have seen cases where some public servants, aware of ongoing court cases, call parties involved, promising to expedite their cases in return for kickbacks,” she said.

“They ask them to send cash via mobile money, the victims in the process later end up losing and come to our offices, but this is an issue we have discussed with respective institutions, including regulatory authority, for a solution.”

The senators on the Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Human Rights and Petitions were scrutinising the 2014/15 Ombudsman report.

Senator Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo asks a question during the meeting yesterday at the Senate.

The lawmakers raised concern over gross mismanagement and potential loss of public funds highlighted in the report.

The senators questioned the Ombudsman on possibility of effective collaboration with other public offices to fight injustice and corruption.

Senator Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo called for more efforts to fight injustice and bribery in the face of new manifestations.

“We have seen that land disputes, expropriations are at the helm of many cases tabled before justice institutions, how does the Office of the Ombudsman work with other public institutions in handling these issues systematically,” he said.

Senators also picked issue with some members of the public who refuse to accept court rulings and any other decisions taken by local government offices.

“It seems many are yet to learn to accept court decisions; they keep complaining. Even when the process and trial was fair, many choose to petition other institutions. How can we handle these issues?” said Senator Narcisse Musabeyezu.

Cyanzayire, (C) speaks to Senators yesterday. (Photos by T. Kisambira)

Cyanzayire said her office had instituted stronger mechanisms with other public institutions on issues regarding corruption although more joint actions were needed to deal with other issues of injustice.

“So far, we have forums where we work with public institutions, including the Ministry of Justice, Police and others when dealing mostly with corruption but we will need to build more partnerships in handling issues of injustice,” she said.

The watchdog cited, in its annual report, sluggish projects that have been not only delaying development programmes but eat heavily into taxpayers’ money.

The projects in question include Gishoma Peat Plant that was supposed to generate close to 15 megawatts and ‘Bye Bye Nyakatsi Diaspora’ project that had collected close to Rwf82 million funds.

While the report states that many of the filed complaints are land-related with a high prevalence from the eastern part of the country, this year a total of 70 corruption cases were reported.

The report says the Office of the Ombudsman received 7,404 complaints in total.