In February, the entire government drove to the RDF Combat Training Centre in Gabiro, Gatsibo district for the 17th National Leadership Retreat chaired by President Paul Kagame from 16th to18th.
Just like in previous similar retreats, Rwandans glued to their radios and television sets very keen on knowing who Kagame would name and shame. It is characteristic during this self-assessment, a homegrown solution.
President Kagame did not disappoint. He began giving direct hints on who was destined for roasting after the retreat; “I didn’t know this day would reach so fast. I wanted it; we are in a season where I really want to confront some complex issues.”
“Minister of defence,…Minister of Internal security. There is a case that very soon you will have to answer. It also involves the Minister of Health,” a seemingly irritated Kagame said.
The President warned the public leaders; “You are heading a ministry and you think it is yours, it is not yours.”
Since the 17th National Leadership Retreat, some cabinet ministers have lost their jobs while many other public officials are spotted reporting daily to Rwanda Investigations Bureau for questioning. Some are already in detention and others battling accountability cases in court.
There is “an ongoing investigation on matters of accountability,” a sacking letter for General Patrick Nyamvumba indicated.
However, it is obvious Kagame has staged a very aggressive fight against corruption, bad conduct among leaders, abuse of office, and power.
Piecing together this puzzle, here is a scenario that paints a picture of the presence of a mafia network in government.
According to the Auditor General’s report, billions of taxpayers’ money are increasingly being sucked from the state in very sophisticated maneuvers. And this makes President Kagame very angry.
“Anything concerning the interests of citizens or country, I promise you that we will collide. The things you are spoiling belong to Rwandans, not you,” Kagame said at the retreat.
Kagame Intercepts Fraudulent Buying & Selling of a Building
Details have emerged that at the beginning of 2018, the government instructed the purchase of a building from which one of the state security agencies would permanently coordinate its activities.
The search began to find a suitable building. Suitors chose one at Kacyiru and owned by A&P Ltd Company.
The Government expressed interest in the building and thus initiated negotiations. A source told Taarifa that the President disapproved of the location due to security concerns of the location.
The purchase of the building should have been a closed chapter.
A new process was initiated, and the government had to find other institutions to occupy the building.
Apparently, the initial cost of the building was ignored, and thus the essence of the new negotiation process, according to sources.
At that time, Infrastructure Minister, James Musoni, ordered for setting up of a negotiating team including; (team leader) Christian Rwakunda, Permanent Secretary (MINIFRA), Godfrey Kabera, Director General of National Development Planning at MINECOFIN, Eric Serubibi, Director General, Rwanda Housing Authority (RHA).
According to sources, Rwanda Housing Authority hired a property valuer, Gasabo 3D, to evaluate the A&P Ltd building located opposite Umubano Hotel at Kacyiru from where The New Times newspaper previously operated.
The RHA valuer narrowed at Rwf 7.5billion. However, another property valuer Integrated Shelter, hired by A&P Ltd gave it a total cost of Rwf 9.6 billion.
In the first round of negotiations (chaired by Rwakunda Christian Rwakunda), those representing A&P Ltd said the value-report that had been presented was not meant for use in the selling of the building but for insurance.
They requested to be given time to put together another value-report that could reflect the true market value for the building and presented before May 15, 2018.
The seller made a U-turn at the negotiating table and claimed he had presented the wrong documents.
Later, the A&P Ltd representatives sent via email a value-report indicating the cost of this building as Rwf14billion.
Christian Rwakunda, (PS Mininfra) chaired two rounds of negotiations and there was no agreement reached in both rounds.
However, the government was only willing to buy the building at Rwf 8 billion yet the owners of the building were willing to settle for Rwf 11 billion.
The third round of negotiation was held on May 18th, 2018, and chaired by Permanent Secretary of Minecofin (Rwamuganza). In the negotiations, the government agreed to purchase this building at Rwf 9.8 billion excluding taxes.
It is not understood why the government negotiating team would disregard a lower price provided by Gasabo 3D and settle for a higher cost.
After settling for Rwf 9.8 billion, Eric Serubibi, the Director-General for Rwanda Housing Authority, on August 22nd, 2018, wrote to Rwanda Public Procurement Authority (RPPA) a letter titled – ‘Request for no objection to use Single Source Method to Award Tender for Acquisition of a Building for Office Use.’
Serubibi also attached another letter titled, ‘Justification note for the award of the tender for the acquisition of buildings for office use’.
Meanwhile, the following day August 23rd, 2018, Minister Claver Gatete, also wrote a letter titled, “Supporting Letter” requesting for no objection to use “Single Source” method to award the tender for “Acquisition of a Building for Office.”
Minister Gatete was appointed as the Minister of Infrastructure on April 6th, 2018. Prior to this appointment, he served as Minister of Finance.
Later on August 28th, 2018, Serubibi of Rwanda Housing Authority wrote to Justice Ministry “Request for Legal Opinion on Sale and Purchase Agreement between RHA and A&P Ltd” and attached another document titled ‘Draft Agreement’.
Serubibi’s presentation to the Justice Ministry is illegal because there had not been any tendering process done and therefore the purchase agreement was illegal. There can only be a purchase agreement resulting from a formal tendering process yet in this case it did not happen.
In a close audit of tenders at the Rwanda Housing Authority, it was discovered that the agency made an ‘Invitation for bids’ on October 2nd, 2018, while the following day October 3rd, 2018, was for ‘Opening of Bids’.
Carefully, on October 9th, 2018, Serubibi wrote to an association of property valuers requesting them to provide a property valuer because Rwanda Housing Authority (RHA) urgently wanted to purchase a building.
He argued that he had two value-reports, one from RHA and another from the proprietor but “they do not provide good guidance”.
The association of property valuers received the request letter on October 10th, 2018, and dispatched one Bonaventure Munyabugingo to do the job. The following day on October 11th, 2018, Munyabugingo submitted a report on the value of the building (UPI: 1/02/08/01/481) giving it a cost of Rwf13.5 billion.
However, it is not known how this property valuer Munyabugingo could manage to survey the gigantic building and give it a cost in just 24 hours. There is suspicion of connivance.
Meanwhile, it was also discovered there was another value-report in possession with Rwanda Housing Authority conducted on September 8th, 2018, by Integrated Shelter, giving the building a cost of Rwf11.9 billion. However, this report was never used or mentioned during the negotiations.
A highly placed source in the corridors of power indicates that President Kagame at some point inquired about the goings-on regarding this purchase file. It appeared to him that the first and the second acquisition carried in the price. That is where all suspicions began.
Detectives at RIB responded with action. Investigators from the Economic Crime Unit were deployed to meticulously dig into the details of the case.
Every official who was involved in one way or another, even by being mentioned by suspects, has been interrogated. All the Directors, Ministers, and Permanent Secretaries have been questioned.
RIB eventually submitted a charge sheet to prosecution and a court processing is underway.
Except for Ministers, the PSs and Directors are all under detention, pending a court ruling on their bail application before the substantive hearing begins.
Meanwhile, another case involving King Faisal Hospital undergoing a U$20 million face-lift has triggered some arrests. Sources say that RIB is investigating the possibilities of bribery during the negotiations.
A source privy to internal dynamics of government told Taarifa that there is a suspect who might have facilitated the crime. The suspect has been under detention for several weeks.