Thursday, 23 May 2013

Defaulters to lose salary over wealth declaration


Aloysie Cyanzayire’s office has cracked the whip on defaulters.
Forty seven civil servants are set to lose a quarter of their May salary for failure to declare their wealth to the Ombudsman’s office by the end of the last fiscal year. 
A total of 85 civil servants face disciplinary action, according to Jeanne d’Arc Mwiseneza, the director of declaration of assets unit.
The list was sent to the Prime Minister’s office in April.
They are from different institutions and will be subjected to disciplinary sanctions provided for in the general statutes of public service in Rwanda, she said.
Under Article 92 of General Statute of the Public Service there are two kinds of sanctions subjected to public servants.
These include warning, official blaming and deduction of quarter of a month’s salary in the first category-while the second category involves suspension from duty of up to three months, delay in promotion and expulsion.
An employee can be subjected to one of the punishments depending on previous conduct at his or her work place. 
The set deadline for wealth declaration is June 30 of every fiscal year.
Apart from the 47 whose salary has to be deducted, others on the list were subjected to different disciplinary sanctions of the first and second category, respectively.
Of the total, 27 were given a warning while 10 were blamed.
Only one person was suspended from duty for a period of eight working days.
High ranking officials not affected 
Eight thousand civil servants are eligible for wealth declaration. These include all the leaders from the Head of State to the executive secretary of a sector.
The list also includes decision makers in different institutions like budget officers, directors of finance and tender committees among others.
According to Mwiseneza, the five highest ranking officials, including the President, the Premier, Speaker and Senate President, Chief Justice declared their assets ahead of the deadline
She commended other high ranking officials, including deputies, senators ministers, and governors for respecting the deadline.
She said, “It would be worse to have a minister, or any of the five high ranking officials who do not declare their assets. For them, everything was cleared on time…they are not affected here and they have never missed the deadline.”
She declined to divulge details of who was subjected to what punishment or the institution they are from since the list is not yet public.
But Mwiseneza said those affected are ordinary civil servants - internal auditors, budget officers and other professionals - from different sectors.
In the Institute of National Museums of Rwanda (INMR), one civil servant is reportedly on the list and will find one quarter of the salary deducted at the end of this month.
But Guillaine Nshimiyimana, the INMR procurement officer who declared his wealth on time blamed the signature format in the application form, which sometimes makes it difficult to upload.
“It is hard to carry out the exercise successfully especially when internet connection is slow,” she said.
But the Ombudsman’s office says some civil servants rush to the application form on the last day and  risk to do it wrongly or to totally miss the deadline.
“But even when they used paper, there were a number of people that failed to submit on time,” Jeanne d'Arc Mwiseneza said, adding that public servants can always apply by January of every year.  
As of now, Ombudsman office is considering the information they have got in assets declaration to see if they match with findings from bank accounts and properties of those who declared. 
Declaration of assets is an exercise the Ombudsman office started eight years back as part of the campaign to fight corruption.
The East African Bribery Index 2012 has found that in the region, Rwanda has the lowest bribery prevalence with 2.5 per cent from 5.6 per cent in 2011.


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