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Special Report

Understanding ex-President Habyarimana’s Falcon 50 Jet

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On April 6, 1994, ex-President of Rwanda Maj. Gen. Juvenal Habyarimana was flying back from Arusha, Tanzania where he had gone for Peace Talks with Rwanda Patriotic Front.

However, as he approached Gregoire Kayibanda International Airport later renamed Kigali International Airport, his Jet was suddenly blown up by a rocket propelled grenade. Habyarimana and Burundian president Cyprien Ntaryamira and other occupants in the Jet died instantly.

One may not talk about Rwanda’s turbulent past without mentioning the Dassault Falcon 50 – a French manufactured super-midsize, long-range business jet.

Habyarimana had acquired this Dassault Falcon 50 to facilitate him in flying to various destinations across the globe for an assortment of engagements.

The Falcon 50 became the world’s first civil aircraft featuring supercritical wings, and secured certification on February 27, 1979. The wing choice brought about a formidable technological breakthrough.

According to its specifications, this Jet could fly to a nonstop range of up to : 6,480 km. It has a Wingspan: 19 m, Top speed: 915 km/h Cruise speed: 888 km/h, Weight: 9,163 kg, and Engine type: Garrett TFE731.

The Falcon 50 was later updated as the Falcon 50EX, the first of which flew in 1996, and the last of which was delivered in 2008.

The Falcon 50EX features improved engines and other enhancements to give further range improvements to an already long-range jet.

The Falcon 50EX designation applies to serial numbers 253–352, which marks the end of the production line for the Falcon 50/50EX. The last Falcon 50EX was built in late 2007 and delivered in early 2008.

By 2018, Falcon 50s from the mid-late 1980s were priced at $0.879 to $1.6 million while 1998-2003 Falcon 50EXs can be had for $2.95 to $3.95 million.

Interior of Falcon 50 Jet

Explaining the Physics Of Falcon 50 Wings

The falcon 50 is fitted with what experts term as supercritical wings (SCW). They are flatter on the top, rounded on the bottom, and the upper trailing edge is accented with a downward curve to restore lift lost by flattening the upper surface.

In comparison, conventional wings are rounded on top and flat on the bottom.  

At speeds in the transonic range — just below and just above the speed of sound. The SCW delays the formation of the supersonic shock wave on the upper wing surface and reduces its strength, allowing the aircraft to fly faster with less effort.

The US government agency NASA responsible for civilian space program conducted a test program validating the SCW concept at the Dryden Flight Research Center from March 1971 to May 1973 and showed that the SCW installed on an F-8 Crusader test aircraft increased transonic efficiency by as much as 15%.

Ex-President Habyarimana Greets Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni after disembarking from his Falcon 50

 Supercritical Benefits

When an aircraft with a conventional wing nears a speed of sound (Mach 1), air flowing across the top of the wing moves faster and becomes supersonic. This creates a shock wave on the wing’s upper surface even though the aircraft, as a whole, has not exceeded Mach 1. The aircraft, at this point, is flying at what is called the critical speed.

The shockwave causes the smooth flow of air hugging the wing’s upper surface (the boundary layer) to separate from the wing and create turbulence.

Separated boundary layers are like wakes behind a boat — the air is unsteady and churning, and drag increases. This increases fuel consumption and it can also lead to a decrease in speed and cause vibrations.

In rare cases, aircraft have also become uncontrollable due to boundary layer separation. Supercritical wings have a flat-on-top “upside down” look.

As air moves across the top of a SCW it does not speed up nearly as much as over a curved upper surface.

This delays the onset of the shock wave and also reduces aerodynamic drag associated with boundary layer separation.

Lift that is lost with less curvature on the upper surface of the wing is regained by adding more curvature to the upper trailing edge.

Now the aircraft can cruise at a higher subsonic speed and easily fly up into the supercritical range. And with less drag, the aircraft is using less fuel than it would otherwise consume.

Higher subsonic cruise speeds and less drag translates into airliners and business jets getting to their destinations faster on less fuel, and they can fly farther — factors that help keep the cost of passenger tickets and air freight down.

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Special Report

EXCLUSIVE: Conversation With Rwanda’s Pioneer Plant Breeder

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Rwanda has significantly transformed its Agriculture sector for the past 27 years and is currently pursuing futuristic and modernised practices and technology to enhance this vital sector.

Taarifa had a conversation with Mr. Augustine Musoni (pictured above) one of Rwanda’s senior scientists that have been working behind the scenes innovating, training and researching with the aim of buttressing the Agriculture sector.

Mr. Musoni is a long serving public servant, transitioning to retirement in a few months. He worked for Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Board RAB, and its precursor, ISAR for the last 27 years, as a trained Geneticist and Plant Breeder.

He was the National Coordinator for Beans / Pulses and Oil Crops Research Programs; Director of Livestock Research Centre, Research Station Manager at one time or the other, often, concurrently.

He led a team of scientists in breeding, selection and releases of close to 50 new bean varieties that made positive impacts to food, nutrition and incomes security to smallholders, traders, processors and exporters under the bean sub-sector in the country.

Musoni is passionate about the power of partnerships, particularly about the leading role by the visionary, passionate, pioneering support by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, AGRA. Taarifa tracked him to his rural farm in Kamate recently.

Below is an excerpt of an enriching conversation;

Why particularly AGRA?

I was privileged to lead AGRA’s Program for Africa Seed Systems (PASS) inception base-line and business plan in 2006.

The challenge by then was educating a critical mass of MSC/PhD breeders, breeding and disseminating better crop varieties to smallholder farmers through local SMEs agro-dealership development and policy advocacy programs.

Ten years on in 2016, I led AGRA’s initiatives for further strengthening market-led crop breeding and the SME seed business.

More directly, I have been a manager or co-manager of four major AGRA funded bean breeding and promotion projects, Refs; 2008 PASS 040, 2011 PASS 054, AGRA-SHP-Climbing beans and on going 2019 RW 005, since AGRA’s inception in Rwanda, about 15 years ago.

I helped write and shape more than 10 AGRA funded proposals for other ISAR/RAB staff and local seed companies. AGRA’s dreams for Rwanda have been largely achieved: Twenty or so MSc or PhDs breeder managers; close to 100 modern released or upcoming crop varieties, and tens of local seed companies and agro-dealers commercializing them with diminishing seed imports from multinationals.

A hybrid bean seed demonstration garden bearing one of the varieties locally engineered

As a bean breeder, what have been your duties?

Plant breeding in general entails pyramiding and deploying packaged desirable traits to mitigate biophysical, socio-economic production, post-harvest, marketing and or processing challenges in new seed varieties.

In the case of common beans, desirable varieties should have better yields, nutritional and market values (colour, size), culinary (taste, fast cooking), early maturity plus resilience to prevalent pests and climate, among others.

You need to work closely with value chain end-users; more necessarily with farmers, in order to tailor new varieties to their needs.

A breeding cycle from crossings, lab and field tests and selections to releases is delicate and can take as long as 7 to 10 years.

What is your rating of AGRA support to bean breeding in financial terms?

It is manifold more than any one other single funder, I have known.

The four ISAR/RAB bean breeding and dissemination grants alone were in excess of U$1.4 million. Add other direct or indirect investments in contractual studies, short-course and long-term degree training of bean scientists, lab, library (Teal), office, transport vehicles and other field infrastructures and equipment, travels and workshops, here and abroad, then one easily loses count.

There are many bean varieties on the local market, how many bean varieties have you released in Rwanda?

In 2010 and 2012 ISAR/RAB released 25 climbing and bush bean varieties largely through the AGRA support. Ten of these were bio-fortified for micronutrients iron and or zinc.

This May, the ongoing AGRA / PIATA Grant: 2019 RW 005 and MINAGRI funding to the National Variety Release Committee (NVRC) have leapfrogged the release of 19 more new varieties, 13 of them climbers with mean yields (3.9 – 5.2 t/ha), and the rest of the bush type (1.5 – 2.8 t/ha).

Eight have higher iron (89 – 119 ppm) and or zinc (35 – 48 ppm) contents than previously released ones. These and others have greater consumer and market appeal, better processability, ecological adaptations, besides better yield advantages.

Farmers, exporters and seed companies should be relieved that the long awaited “Coltan”, “Injamane” and “Shyushya” are now officially released.

Are there any other funders of bean breeding in Rwanda?

Besides the Rwanda Government, AGRA has been our biggest supporter since its inception. The AGRA story in Rwanda starts with the Rockefeller Foundation (RF)’s “Participatory Plant Breeding (PPB)” project of 2001/5.

Nearly all bean varieties, including the popular Fe/Zn-rich bio-forts released in 2012: (RWVs 3006, 3316, 3317, 2887) and in 2010 (RWV 1129, RWRs: 2154, 2245, CAB 2 and MAC 44) were inherited products of the PPB project further promoted by AGRA grants.

AGRA Former RF’s Dr Joe DeVries, many believe, is the father of AGRA in Rwanda. Direct and or indirect contributions from the RF, USAID and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (B&MGF) through AGRA were very effective. 

Subsequently, more and more funders came along to complement AGRA. IFPRI’s HarvestPlus / CIAT Project, the Syngenta Foundation (SFSA)/CIAT, Kirk House Trust (KT), the Grain Pulses CRSP, and very recently the AU and AfDB-TAAT also came in. ASARECA was additionally more supportive to breeding and releasing of four snap bean (imiteja) varieties.

The International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and its networks (PABRA/ ECABREN) have and are still ever-present since 1995, even a decade earlier; in germ plasm exchange, training, and in direct or indirect mobilisation of research funds and other resources.

A number of the first generation of ISAR varieties of 1991/2 that included: Vuninkingi (G685), Umubano (G2333), Flora de Mayo and Decelaya, just like the MAC, CAB and MBC lines in later released generations were introductions from CIAT.

Aren’t 19 more new varieties quite too many for users and the seed systems?

Firstly, many of these are improved replacements of the older varieties. The bush, climbers or semi-climbing types cater for the diverse macro and micro environments within the marginal to high potential ecologies.

Many varieties provide a broader choice among producer farmers, consumer and value chain market niches with even more diverse preferences. Relate this to a clothing mall or an automobile industry like “Toyota” with all sorts of designs and models targeting different customers.

Have the new varieties created better livelihoods for farmers and Rwanda in general?

Rwanda is currently seen as a centre of excellence for the high yielding climbing beans in Africa. Their adoption was about 65% (from around 5% in the 1980s). It is nearly 100% in the high potential North-Western regions.

Productivity and production have nearly doubled for example, from about 300,000 MT in 2005 to about 500,000 MT in 2019.

Currently, Rwanda is a surplus producer and net-exporter of beans; contributing extra U$60million to U$70 million to the annual NGDP (from about U$15 million in 1995).

Beans are most consumed by small holders and urban poor, but also the health-conscious wealth as sources of more affordable green protein.

Studies in 2017/18 showed that the adoption of nutritious iron-zinc bio-fortified bean varieties reduced anaemia and enhanced cognitive ability among vulnerable women and school children.

Beans have stimulated direct investments in processing and export industries such as FarmFresh Ltd, PANOVITA, TOHA, AFI, DUHAMIC, EAX, SARURA, EAGGC, BRG, generating direct markets for farmers and other value chain business and employment.

Blended flours for porridges and pre-cooked bean-based diets are promoted by the National Child Development Program (NCDP) through home kitchen garden and school feeding to mitigate malnutrition.

How would you describe AGRA’s impact on the seed sector in Rwanda?

AGRA founded and supported a number of local private seed companies that commercialise the new beans, soybean and hybrid maize.

I was also personally involved in this through the AGRA supportive contracts. These have grown across the country; and seed importation by multinational companies is being replaced by enhanced local production.

They include Rwanda Improved Seed Company (RISCO);  EBENEZER Mixed Farming; Sozo Seed Company; Win-Win Agrotech; Seeds of Trust; Top Quality; Ibisubizo Seed Company,  NZALEX,  IGNITE Seed Company, and One-Acre-Fund, among others.  

What more support to farmers should AGRA and others invest further in bean breeding?

Rwandan farmers need further mobilisation on use of quality inputs and good agronomic practices via greater awareness creation by e-media and ICT, but also training and demonstrations.

As our farmers graduate from subsistence to commercial farming, and with the youth joining the sector, mechanising, ICT’ing, youth and especially women youth empowerment should be more promoted.

Most importantly farmers need to be more connected to fledging off-taker market-led business value chains.

Who is Musoni Augustine?

This is a hard one. Very briefly, I am a married parent of three children. I am a dependable team worker and organiser, with compelling self-drive to achieve set goals. I am a deliberate articulate talker and writer. I enjoy farming, being a progressing bean/maize and livestock rural farmer.  

Thank you for your time. Thanks, too, for your continued interest in the agriculture sector, as I have noticed recently.

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Special Report

Multimillion-dollar Kigali Golf Course Recklessly Destroyed By Harmful Chemicals

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Members of Kigali Golf Club (KGC) may have to wait longer before they play any game after a reckless contractor marvelled through the most of the golf course and sprayed it with a harmful chemical.

A large portion of the almost US$11 million course has been burnt and it might take months before it sees life again.

It all began with the supplier ignoring the content of the soil sample that needed specific chemicals and fertiliser pillages. Stock worth over US$70,000 was paid for by the Management of KGC.

Then a contractor responsible for maintaining the course, who also happens to be the one who built the course, went ahead and applied the chemicals without testing the possible effects.

Normally, a test would be conducted on a small portion off the main course to assess the effect before it is applied on the whole course. Now, after negligently spraying the chemicals, the whole multimillion-dollar course is in jeopardy.

It doesn’t not only look yellow, it also is unstable. The management of KGC convened on Tuesday June 9, to figure out how to manage the crisis before the situation backfires.

The contractor’s monthly payment worth US$25,000 has already been signed, but sources told Taarifa that it is temporarily being held by senior management.

The course that has been under construction has not hosted any tournament. It was expected to be officially opened during CHOGM that was slated on 22nd this month. It means if CHOGM was still on, the country would have suffered a historic and unforgivable embarrassment.

In May, Infrastructure Minister, Clever Gatete, who oversees this investment, convined a general meeting with all stakeholders, and requested a status report on the whole investment.

Trusted sources told Taarifa that the team he assigned the task could have flouted his directives. As things appear, he might have been duped into believing all is well or no report was made at all, going by the disturbing evidence of mismanagement and misappropriation of resources and funds that Taarifa obtained from trusted sources.

Meanwhile, for months, Taarifa has been conducting an investigation into allegations of mismanagement of this project worth around US$20 million. A series of special reports will be published in a few days ahead.

How the course looked like before it was sprayed with chemicals and unsuitable fertilisers
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Special Report

How A World Bank Multibillion Funded Project Could Go Into Flames

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In 2020, the Auditor General, Obadia Biraro, had heavily worded statements in his annual report.

In one of his statements Biraro observed that despite the descending trend, public funds and resources management in some public entities are still weak and need improvement.

“Unnecessary, unlawful and wasteful expenditure should be avoided if public entities exercised due care in their operations, coupled with prudent management of public resources,” he said in his report released in May 2021.

For years, the Auditor General’s recommendations have barely been implemented primarily due to inadequate coordination of efforts, according to him.

“This is more so on irregularities that do not fall under the purview of a single public institution,” he says.

Under these circumstances, implementing audit recommendations requires, Biraro insists, “concerted efforts and absolute dedication from the management of government agencies and those entrusted with governance.”

Eighty-one (81) public entities had long outstanding creditors and debtors’ balances up to Frw13 billion and Frw50.5 billion in their financial statements respectively.

These balances have been outstanding without movement for up to 10 years. “Financial statements for these entities are not fairly stated,” the AG noted.

Bank reconciliations for twenty (20) bank accounts with balances totaling Frw254 million had unreconciled differences without explanation.

In addition, bank reconciliations for five (5) bank accounts with balances totaling Frw129.3 million had irregular reconciling items. This is an indication that the reported bank balances were not accurate.

A review of the budget execution report revealed that internally generated revenue and expenditure of Non-Budget Agencies were not included in the national budget approved by parliament.

Disclosures made for NBAs revealed that a total of Frw108 billion of internally generated revenues and expenditure of Frw170 billion were omitted from government expenditure for the year ended at 30 June 2020.

However, the current year audits found 62 cases of delayed contracts worth Frw216 billion in 38 public entities and projects. 

These consist of 50 delayed contracts worth Frw195 billion identified during the year under 12 contracts worth Frw21 billion from previous audits. Delays were up to 2,721 days.

These are just a few picks from the report. In the AG’s view, each oversight body, stakeholders and accountability institutions must play a role and lend total support to resolving this concern.

In response to these recurring challenges, the Ministry of Finance (MINECOFIN) is seeking the help of a qualified consultancy firm to assist in the migration to accrual accounting based on International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS), under the Public Finance Management Reform Project (RPFMR). The three-year project is funded by the World Bank.

Five international audit firms have been preselected from which one of them shall be awarded the tender to offer the services mentioned.

The firms, Taarifa has learnt, include CCM (Belgian), with a quotation of Rwf2.3 billion, ADP (Kenyan) seeking Rwf1.6 billion, BDO (UK) quoting RwfRwf4.2, KPMG (Anglo-Dutch) with Rwf4.4 billion and PwC (UK) quoting Rwf4.5billion.

These firms, according to our sources, were preselected from a total of nine who had submitted their bids. The scrutiny is now projected on the remaining five.

Scrutiny, however, according to our sources, should have been conducted earlier before a mere shortlisting because of a long list of concerns surrounding these particular firms in question.

The nature of due diligence conducted against the preselected five firms is being questioned due to their previous records working in Rwanda with various public institutions on a number of sensitive and heavy projects.

Taarifa has learnt that there was no in-depth analysis conducted to ascertain the reputation of these firms and specifically three of them that have been operating in Rwanda for the last decade.

Fears have been expressed that even though some of the firms are aiming at the big four, they have a troubling track record with various institutions.

Taarifa has gathered details on each firm.

ADP’s offer is believed to be a low quotation signaling a lack of full knowledge on the scope of work. Sources privy to this tender say the fee quoted by ADP is below expected threshold to execute such an assignment if MINECOFIN goes by the lowest bidder.

CCM is also seen through the same lens as the Kenyan firm, and the only difference is that the Belgian has indeed handled major projects in several fields, and with no known records of contractual failures in Rwanda yet.

The remaining three are in the same range with minor differences in their financial offer with a disparity of Rwf0.3 between the lowest and highest bidder.

BDO is as large as the other two, and operating under a franchise arrangement except that in the bid, BDO UK was the bidder and not BDO Rwanda. 

However, BDO Rwanda, according to sources, might be the one to execute the tender with assistance from BDO UK, if they win. 

BDO Rwanda has had several contractual faults. For example, the firm has not fully completed the contract to rebuild WASAC’s opening balance sheet after it was split from ELECTROGAZ in 2010.    

KPMG is one of the Big Four international accounting organizations, however, KPMG Rwanda is a franchise. They have operated in Rwanda for over a decade. 

Prior to opening their office in Rwanda in 2010, KPMG had already begun working with the government to implement the privatization program and modernizing Rwanda Revenue Authority among other institutions. 

Our sources did not speak well about KPM’s previous assignments. We learned about contracts such as that of RRA to reconcile tax accounts that were meant to be completed in one year, but went on for three years now. 

“We have a historical issue that we are now cleaning up,” a source in RRA told Taarifa. 

“But they are progressing.” KPMG is also accused of failing to complete their contract of separating pension schemes for RSSB, giving the institution a burden to explain itself every year to the Auditor General.

PwC is also among the big four. It was the first among the big four to expand its African network by opening an office in Kigali, Rwanda. PwC had first served Rwanda for a number of years on a fly-in, fly-out basis from neighbouring African countries.

Sources say PwC has had a whirlwind of errands with several institutions for years, including a bad experience with MINECOFIN itself where a five year contract to assist in consolidating public accounts went bad.

An anonymous source in MINECOFIN testified to Taarifa that these institutions are on their watch list for unethical behaviour and antagonising experiences in the market, “unfortunately they are the big ones we have and we don’t regulate them. Go ask the regulator.”

The regulator is the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Rwanda (iCPAR).

In defence of the firms

The CEO of iCPAR, Amin Miramago, was very categorical when Taarifa sought his comment. He defended the firms.

He said that what’s said about these firms should be looked at in many dimensions with careful considerations.

First, he noted that most of the public institutions these firms serve, have legacy issues that are too complicated. 

“They do this and then do that and you find them in constant situations that are hard to fix,” Miramago said, adding that, “When you implement a reform, you need to give it time to assess the results before you bring in something new.”

He blamed contracting institutions for failing to implement advisory work offered by the firms they contracted. “They are always playing victim cards,” Miramago said. 

That in the event of knowledge that the firms are hiring unqualified staff or subcontracting others for example, as it is said out there, “why give them contracts and cry crocodile tears later? ..it is the negligence of those institutions, it is their responsibility to follow up and see if the contractor is meeting contractual obligations or not, if they aren’t meeting their obligations, they should take actions against them.”

Despite Miramago’s defense, Taarifa has learnt that major firms have another game they play to survive in the market. 

Sources that couldn’t provide tangible evidence for fear of losing their jobs, say the firms offer kickbacks to secure contracts. 

And by doing so, those who take the kickbacks and are responsible for holding the firms accountable, eventually lose the moral authority to hold the firms accountable.

This did not sound well in Miramago’s ears. He revealed to Taarifa a different practice, without refuting the corruption allegations. He said the problem he is aware of in the market is malice.

“I regulate all firms; big, medium and small. The most malicious firms are the big ones because they are in a small market,” Miramago confessed and gave an example of a scenario where a certain firm he didn’t want to mention, backstabbed another and sent the contracting institution into a panic mode so that the contract could be awarded to them.

Nevertheless, the auditing practice, an independent auditor told Taarifa, “has become a commodity…truth be told, they are doing whatever they want in the market because of connections to powerful individuals in government, unfortunately it’s the economy that suffers.”

But Miramago doesn’t buy this argument. He says that’s not something as a regulator he can tolerate, instead, he said, “the firms you mentioned are internationally recognised brands that have a reputation and they add value to our economy especially that we now attract global institutions that will need their services.”

And that’s not what everyone thinks. “The only thing international you have there is the name,” an auditor in one of the four firms confessed.

Whether that is considered during tendering or not, remains known to those who sign contracts in closed doors.

As we await the final announcement this June, may the best bidder win, if not, for Obadia, we could be seen as the Somali camel rotating around the well thinking it is on the move.

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