A house build by FARG for a survivor in Gakenke district Photo/AERG
The Rwandan Auditor general identified numerous irregularities in the management and delivery of the Government Assistance Fund for survivors (FARG) programs. The current audit of FARG identified errors in the database and various cases of ghost beneficiaries – where a number of beneficiaries could not be traced to the FARG database of eligible beneficiaries.
The report also revealed poor coordination and potential mismanagement of several billions of Rwanda francs earmarked for education and construction of houses for needy survivors. FARG activities such as management of education funds for secondary school beneficiaries and shelters are managed at the district level. However, many districts did not submit financial and activity reports to facilitate the timely monitoring of their programs. The audit of FARG noted that only 7 districts out of 30 districts submitted reports on the construction of houses for the beneficiaries. A sum amounting to 7 billion Rwandan Francs was disbursed between June 30, 2010 and June 30, 2012 for construction of 3,489 shelters for vulnerable genocide survivors identified as homeless in 2010. The biggest portion of the fund remains unaccounted for.
This is not the first time that funds allocated specifically for sheltering survivors have been mismanaged. In 2011, the Auditor General reported that funds utilized by FARG for the construction of a survivor shelter was “not worth the amount of money spent“. Between 2006-2008 alone, 6 billion Rwandan Francs was transferred by FARG to local districts for the construction of houses or used for the purchase of construction materials. According to the Auditor General “a total of 1,090 eligible individuals selected to receive construction materials did not get them in only five districts surveyed, yet 835 others who were not previously on the approved list obtained the materials.” He also reported that as of September 2010, a stock of 37 tons of roofing nails worth 31 million Rwandan francs was still in the Local Government Ministry’s stores and that some of the beneficiaries who received iron sheets were yet to receive nails.
In addition, the Auditor General highlights concerns over the quality of livestock distributed to the survivors through FARG income generation program. The audit warns that a notable number of cows distributed by FARG especially imported breeds have since died. Many beneficiaries who received the cows did not have the opportunity to utilize their benefits before the cows died. Some imported breeds were not appropriately selected for the Rwandan climate. In other cases, the survivors claimed not to have sufficient financial resources needed to properly feed the animals and provide the necessary and routine veterinary services.
While the auditor general’s report cautions that the identified irregularities may have resulted in the loss of public funds, it does not explicitly indicate the amount of the loss. The 2012 FARG evaluation report discovered that FARG had an under spending of over 50 billion Rwandan Francs since its establishment in 1998. Ibuka called for an immediate enquiry into why this budget has not been utilized – a call that remains unheeded to date. FARG is a 15-year-old fund that assists vulnerable survivors of the genocide against the Tutsi. The Fund has been criticized for its lack of formal representation of survivors in its board of directors. According to survivors organizations, having genocide survivors amongst the members of the board in itself does not address FARG’s shortcomings, as these individuals operate in a personal capacity.
The government of Rwanda has spent over 200 billion Rwandan Francs since FARG’s establishment and yet to many survivors the tangible outcomes and impact remain controversial.
Article Written by Albert Gasake
Categories: Survivors welfare
Those found responsible for the misuse of tax payer’s funds should be prosecuted at once. That’s the best way to curb the malpractice.