External auditors and contracted staff are being brought in to Rwanda’s co-operatives to tackle embezzlement and improve management.
The plans were announced by the Rwanda Cooperative Agency (RCA) in a bid to ensure more accountability and efficiency in the movement, Allafrica.com reported. This follows losses suffered by some co-ops because of rampant embezzlement and poor accountability for funds.
RCA director general Apollo Munanura told a news conference in Kigali the agency had advertised positions for external auditors to end mismanagement of co-op members’ funds.
Rwanda has more than 8,000 co-ops, made up of more than three million members – and Munanura said their importance meant management should be tightened.
He said it had been hard for RCA staff to reach every co-op in the country for monitoring but it is also hard for co-ops to supervise themselves.
Embezzlement cases, particularly in Umurenge Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs), had led to the loss of millions of francs.
“We are moving towards transformational agenda,” added Mr Munanura. “We realised that funds of members are mismanaged by heads of co-operatives. But we plan to remove them and hire contracted staff.
“However, change does not come at once and one has to plan and come up with solutions.”
RCA has also introduced new guidelines for motorcylist co-ops, which Mr Munanura said had suffered mismanagement, with members complaining over unjustified contributions imposed without their consent.
Under the new guidelines, Mr Munanura said, motorcyclists pay agreed monthly contributions.
“We focused on collecting contributions, management and use of collected funds because it has been always unclear among operators who used to wonder who collects the money, how much is it and how it is used,” he said.
“We want uniformity in this among all co-operatives and that all the contributions are paid in financial institutions and bank slips are issued to whoever pays their contributions.”
There are more than 240 motorcyclists cooperatives countrywide made up of over 19,500 members regrouped in eight unions.
Celestin Ntaganzwa, head of the federation of motorcyclists in Rwanda, said it is a positive move for RCA to work with external auditors and contracted staff as it would reduce losses incurred due to mismanagement of funds in some cooperatives.
On the new guidelines among motorists’ cooperatives, Ntaganzwa said it would also help improve accountability and service delivery.