Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Rwanda: ORINFOR board dissolved

By Edwin Musoni
The Kigali New Times
April 22, 2009

KIGALI - Merely two days after the arrest of the Director of the state-run media agency, ORINFOR, Oscar Kimanuka, the government has dissolved the agency’s board.

The board, appointed by the cabinet meeting of June 20, 2008 was composed of Paul Mbaraga who was the chairman, and deputised by Henriette Zimurinda.

Others are Prisca Mujawayezu, Anaclet Kalibata, Rosemary Mbabazi, Joseph Habumukiza and Bakuramutsa Nkubito.

“The suspension of the board comes as a result of its ignorance and failure to unearth and solve the irregularities that have long characterised ORINFOR,” said the Minister of Information, Louise Mushikiwabo.

Speaking during a press briefing, Mushikiwabo said that this is part of reforming ORINFOR to iron out the long-existing financial and managerial inconsistencies. She said that during the reform process, more staff are likely to be laid off.

“Following the arrest of Kimanuka, more people within ORINFOR may also be arrested.”

According to her, the arrest of Kimanuka follows the audit report released on April 17 with detailed alleged financial mismanagement, but the minister declined to reveal how much money was mismanaged. Meanwhile, the Police have handed over Kimanuka to the Prosecution.

According to the spokesman of the Prosecution, Augustin Nkusi, some of the charges against Kimanuka are related to the new printing press and involves huge sums of money released in different double payments.

“The government purchased the web-machine at Euro 1,250,000 (Approx Rwf 921m); the contract signed during the purchase of this machine also involved its installation,” he revealed.

“However, there was another contract of Euro 600,000 (Approx Rwf442m); that was signed for installing this machine yet the installation fee had been paid for in the previous contract.”

Nkusi pointed out that Kimanuka is alleged to have illegally released another Euro 60,000 (Approx Rwf44m) to the engineers as their payment.

According to the law, extra payments are not supposed to exceed 20 percent of the initial amount spent on any item purchased, added Nkusi.

The installation of the web machine is in its final stage and is expected to be operational soon.

Oscar Kimanuka is also charged with paying his staff commissions on advertisement revenue which Nkusi said “is by law illegal.”

He added that the Prosecutor’s office will continue in its crackdown against all who break the law and will not have to wait for the annual Auditor General’s report, but would act even if internal auditors unearth anomalies.

Sources in the prosecution revealed that the saga is likely to affect as many as eleven people in Orinfor. Police sources said that one of them is already in custody.

Alexis Twahirwa, the head of the marketing department of Orinfor was reportedly arrested Monday.

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