Rwanda : Gacaca judges in row over funds mismanagement
While the community elected the Gacaca judges on grounds of integrity to handle genocide cases, a cooperative of Gacaca court judge in Nyamabuye sector, Muhanga district have failed to live to that expectation when it comes to handling money.
Damning evidence was released this January 12, indicating that the leaders of Nyamabuye former Gacaca judges cooperative(Abaharanirukuri) had embezzled funds meant to assist the judges after having done a great job in ruling over genocide cases that had been filled after the 1994.
According to the report, the Abaharanirukuri cooperative- which literary means- those who strive for truth was formed in 2009 after receiving a take-away package (of overRwf 3.2millions) from the national Gacaca jurisdiction in Kigali.
The funds were supposed to assist 327 judges to start income generating projects through a loans and savings scheme established by the members. However, the cooperative leaders are said to have used the funds for their own needs, leaving the fund pool with only Rwf400.000.
In a meeting that brought the members together in Nyamabuye sector, it was revealed that part of the funds (Rwf1.8millions) was embezzled by a staff member identified as Marie Chantal Mukamusoni- who is reportedly nowhere to be found till to date.
The rest of the money, according to the audit report was withdrawn amongst the top cooperative leaders, which was against the rules and regulations of the registered cooperative.
Members who have fallen victims of this mismanagement say that the cooperative has turned out into a ‘dungeon of thieves’ instead of men and women of integrity. They also resolved that that appropriate action be taken on the culprits and the funds refunded by February 2013.
The then cooperative chairman, Felix Munkundire, says that besides the funds that were stolen by their staff member, the rest of the money is in bad debts and most of the members have not been able to repay.
However, the district officials have called on the judges to resolve the issues and stand for the values which the community has endowed on them. According to Jean Bosco Harerimana, the district representative in the meeting, the judges have to be able to refund the money and focus of the progress of their planned projects.