Electricity provider Rwanda Energy Group (REG) is on the spot after Parliament found it had hired a consultant for work which could have been sourced locally.
Appearing before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), ministry of infrastructure delegation led by permanent secretary Patricie Uwase, could not explain the expert’s role.
According to the Auditor General’s report of 2017-2018, a supervisory consultant was hired from Uganda to oversee implementation of six projects of REG. Among the projects includes rural electrification.
The consultant was to be paid $6.5m to supervise the all the projects. However, the unnamed consultant, only covered 4 projects.
The consultant, says the AG report, came to Rwanda once every month, and was paid $10,000 (More than Rwf9m) on every trip for 3 years.
This means that for the 3 years when the consultant came once each month, they got a total of $720,000 (Rwf 657m).
The Auditor General says the electrification projects were not implemented in the districts of Burera, Musanze and Gakenke – all in northern province.
Reacting to the case, PAC chair Dr Jean Chrysostome Ngabitsinze wondered: “Did were really have to go outside Rwanda to find a supervisory consultant yet that same person was never around to supervise ongoing works?”
In the same PAC session, an official introduced as the legal officer of power company REG distanced himself from the case, saying he was not consulted when the decision to hire the Ugandan expert was adopted.
The AG’s report also shows that in 2017, REG bought materials worth Rwf 20.5 billion, but there is no record of where the equipment went.
Dr Ngabitsinze also said REG has no accountability for Rwf 250billion spent on projects which at this point do not exist since there is no record of implementation.
When the Permanent Secretary Uwase, and the REG CEO Ron Weiss were asked to respond to the queries in the AG’s report, they both simply apologized to the committee.
“On behalf of the team, I do apologize to the committee and admit the errors. We promise that we will have rectified all the issues raised [by the Auditor General] when we return,” said Uwase.