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Inside Story: Why Kigali City Council Fired Executive Secretary Sagashya

On Tuesday evening, November 15, a member of the Executive Committee of Kigali City Council summoned the Executive Secretary Eng. Didier Sagashya.

He told him he had been fired and that he needed him to receive his dismissal letter. This was after he had declined to attend an earlier meeting with the entire committee.

Upon hearing the news of his dismissal, he called senior members of the committee seeking to meet and explain himself.

“He was in shock,” a source told Taarifa on Wednesday evening, “but it was too late and there was little he could do to reverse the decision.”

The genesis 

Eng. Sagashya was fired due to three accounts, according to the committee chairman, Athanase Rutabingwa.

One is that the Executive Secretary, who has barely served in this capacity for a year, was involved in an act that left the senior leadership of the city in awe.

He conived with junior staff to destroy ‘important’ files from the city’s directorate of inspection. The directorate is in charge of inspecting construction works and infrastructure development of the city.

The highly spoken of Engineer, instructed two junior staff to go to the office of the Director of the department while she was at lunch, to go and pull out files from shelves and pluck out some pages and destroy them.

Had it not been for the presence of an intern who was left in the office, there was no way the Director would have found out about the incidence.

When the Director returned from lunch, the intern informed her that some staff under the instruction of the Executive Secretary came to her office, pulled out files and tore some pages from the files and left.

The Director confronted the Executive Secretary, an act that did not end well, sources within the city council say. The Director later reported the case to the Mayor.

Insubordination and blackmail 

Secondly, when the Mayor inquired about the matter, the Executive Secretary denied instructing the staff to destroy the files and explained that the staff had instead told him that the files were about old cases and they were not important to keep anymore, thus giving them a go ahead.

The Mayor was not convinced, and instructed him to punish the subordinates.

The Executive Secretary refused. The Mayor told him that he would have the Police involved if he did not take action as instructed.

Eng. Sagashya threatened to resign if the two employees were handed over to Police, something the council considers both blackmail and insubordination.

Nevertheless, the Mayor went ahead and reported the matter to Police. The two staff are now being investigated while under custody.

There is likelihood the Executive Secretary will also be investigated, a member of the Executive Committee told Taarifa.

Abuse of office and sectarianism 

Taarifa has learnt that days running up to his dismissal, Eng. Sagashya had been undergoing a clandestine investigation into his misconduct.

We are told that he had become an ‘untouchable’ member of the senior management team and displayed extreme disrespect for the Mayor.

On one occasion, he attacked the Mayor and furiously asked him why he had come late to the meeting.

The staff in the meeting watched the aggressive behaviour in disbelief.

This came after several cases of the Executive Secretary blocking people from meeting the Mayor. We are told that the Engineer had given instructions that people should see him and not the Mayor because he is the one in charge of the city’s operations.

Inside the city building, there was already cacoons among the employees.

It is alleged that the Executive Secretary had pulled some staff closer to him, asking them to bypass their managers and report to him, many of whom are said to be colleagues he went to school with in college.

We have not been able to establish the authenticity of the allegations, but it is said that he used the staff in question in dubious deals in the city’s construction projects.

“He has been under investigation for long, we were able to track him down, his dismissal is not sudden, it is a result of the evidence we gathered regarding his behaviour,” a member of the Executive Committee who spoke off the record told Taarifa.

His appointment 

Many speak highly of Eng. Didier Sagashya especially for his track record for overseeing “the successful completion of the Kigali Convention Centre that had been besought by problems from the word go,” according to The New Times’s editorial published on February 19, 2017, shortly after his appointment as new Executive Secretary.

Sources say he had been recommended by the high appointing authority as a result driven with a history of delivering particularly also having oversaw the successful mapping Rwanda and issuing millions of land titles while serving as the Deputy Director General of the former Rwanda Natural Resources Authority and later deputising the Director General of Rwanda Housing Authority.

He is also the the Chairman Board of Directors for Rwanda Land Management and Use Authority, an appointment awarded on November 8, 2017 by the cabinet.

Meanwhile, Taarifa has learnt that before his axing, senior government officials summoned him and warned him about his misconduct. He was instructed to write an apology letter to the appointing authority and the Mayor. He did not heed to their wisdom. Until now, he has not written any letter.

And that he has not given reasons given as causes for the misconduct and particularly the destruction of the documents mentioned.

We learnt, however that the dossier contained construction permits and inspection reports.

When sought for his comment, Eng. Sagashya told Taarifa on phone last evening that he would “comment later” after which he hang up his phone.

Until press time, our further efforts were futile.

Administrative Structure of the City of Kigali

 

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