Rwanda’s justice sector awakens on corruption
While the government of Rwanda has been at the frontier of fighting corruption and tops among east African countries and the world in policies and strategies against corruption; some cases of the vice have been evident in the justice sector.
At least ten justice judges and court clerks were early February 2013, sacked over corruption related practices during the past two years. Apparently, in 2011, seven judicial practitioners were charged with corruption while three were charged last year.
Among the most recent ones, is Anastase Ndahimana, a clerk in Gasabo district lower court- who was been indefinitely suspended from the profession after he was found guilty of taking bribes from clients
According to the Court spokesperson, Charles Kaliwabo, the clerk was found guilty with impeccable evidence from testimonies of various clients who had approached the accused clerk for help in court proceedings.
The Chief Justice, Prof. Sam Rugege, says that most corruption cases among judicial practitioners have been reported mainly in lower courts, only one case of a High Court judge in Musanze, but none yet involving a staff in the Supreme Court.
Rwanda is ranked among countries with the least corrupt justice system by Transparent International and the Global Competitiveness report of 2012/2013.
Due to the existing policies on corruption, Rwanda has managed to win the trust of the UN court, the International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda (ICTR)- which has transferred genocide cases for trial in Kigali.
In a bid to uphold this standard that Rwanda Justice sector organizes annually, the anti-corruption week, dedicated to fight corruption related in the sector.
For the Chief Justice, Rugege, there is hope “ we can confidently say that cases of corruption have tremendously reduced although some of our staff may still be involved in the vice,” said Rugege.
Some independent reports indicate that corruption among the court officials may possibly be a result of low pay, saying that most of the cases arrested include people who are soliciting for as little as Rwf30,000.
However, Justice Rugege says that such allegations are not true instead stated that there has been a decrease in corruption cases due to tight measures against such culprits, of whom most have been dismissed and tried before the law.
Apparently the employees in justice sector have been advised to desist from the practice and respect their oaths to service with integrity.