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Orinfor cannot account for Rwf2b says auditor-general’s report

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The Rwanda Bureau of Information and Broadcasting (Orinfor), which is also the national broadcaster, is once again under scrutiny after it failed to account for over Rwf2 billion according to the 2010/11 Auditor-General’s report.

Orinfor, which runs Rwanda Television (RTV) and Radio Rwanda has for the second year running failed to account for over Rwf2 billion, as was the case also in the 2009/10 Auditor-General’s report.

The 2010/11 AG’s report put on the spot government ministries and parastatals for spending and failing to account for at least Rwf5.9 billion without supporting documents during the financial year 2010/11.

Appearing before Parliament last month to present the audit report, Auditor-General Obadiah Biraro said Orinfor was responsible for 73 per cent of the unaccounted funds.

The report mentioned recurrences of past malpractices and mistakes, including embezzlement and gross mismanagement of public funds, lack of supporting documents and wasteful public spending.

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Orinfor was top of the list of government institutions that have failed to produce supporting documents for monies spent.

“Orinfor is responsible for the bigger amount of Rwf4.5 billion of government expenditure that lacked official justification, or is partly supported. The amount of completely unsupported expenditure totalled Rwf5.9 billion,” the AG told the House.

The legislators expressed their frustrations on the way the state broadcaster, which has been dogged by a series of troubles over the past couple of years, continues to be managed.

The MPs and Senators blamed the mismanagement at Orinfor on lack of a board of directors and permanent leadership.

MP Alfred Rwasa Kayiranga pointed out that it is no wonder that the institution is abused and lacks proper books of accounting because “it has not had a board of directors since April 2009” and the “director-general has been in the position of “acting director- general also since 2009. You do not expect an institution to perform well if all its leaders are ‘acting’, from the director-general to the director of TV to the head of printing unit. How do you expect it to be properly managed?” the legislator asked.

However, some of the legislators were quick to warn that Orinfor’s lack of a board of directors or permanent managers should not be an excuse for the mismanagement.

“That should not be used as a scapegoat. The acting director-general is responsible for every transaction, he has the power to sign if money is getting out of the institution and therefore should be accountable for every penny,” said Senator Narcisse Musabyeyezu.

In his defence, Orinfor acting director-general Willy Rukundo in an interview said that the Auditor-General erroneously captured the amount and the money could be accounted for.

“About Rwf1.8 billion of that amount was in a Letter of Credit the Ministry of Finance opened for Orinfor to help us implement the digital migration. Because of the urgency of the issue, the ministry wrote to the National Bank of Rwanda instructing it to pay that amount to Orinfor. We did not necessarily have the support documents for this transaction but if the AG had gone to Minecofin or BNR, the records are there,” Mr Rukundo said.

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