November 30, 2020
Ubuhinzi

Corruption is a human right violation, Police

Rwanda is globally recognized as one of the least corrupt nations, according to various international reports, and among the best performers in Africa in fighting graft. For Rwanda to achieve such, extra efforts and commitment had to be invested.

According to Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Jean Nepo Mboyumuvunyi, commissioner for Inspectorate of Police Services and Ethics in Rwanda National Police (RNP), corruption is viewed as a “violation of human rights” in Rwanda.

The inspectorate is partly charged with fighting corruption both within RNP and in other institutions.

“RNP looks at corruption in a bigger picture; it fuels injustice, inequality and deprives people of their rights to a certain free service and actually slows down or affects service delivery, and fighting it with no leniency, is equally the responsibility of police and all Rwandans,” ACP Mbonyumuvunyi said.

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He was reacting to various incidents where people have been arrested either soliciting or giving bribes, and embezzlement.

Close to 400 civilians majority drivers, have been arrested over the last three years in connection with attempting to bribe police officers to acquire illegal services. At least 117 were arrested in 2014 and 224 in 2015.

“Fighting corruption has no timeframe or boundaries, and is not specific to one institution; this malpractice manifests in various ways such as demanding something for a legally free service, trying to buy an illegal service or even nepotism. We have to double our efforts collectively each day by reporting those who trade services for money or demand something in exchange for a free service,” he said.

“We are guided by the national policy of zero tolerance to corruption and we continuously conduct awareness campaigns against it as well as educating both the public and our officers,” he noted.

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According to Law No. 23/2003 of 07/08/2003 on corruption and related offences especially in its articles 10 to 27 provides for penalties including a term of imprisonment ranging from two to five years and fines depending on the nature and circumstances under which the offence was committed.

“Besides the skills given to police officers as they are joining the force, we also conduct refresher courses where we remind them of the consequences of taking bribes and their role in fighting it; it is a tradition in RNP that anyone caught in such malpractice will be dismissed from the force, and many of those that have been implicated have followed suit,” he said.

As part of the internal strategies against corruption, police statistics indicate that 170 police officers were arrested in 2014 in graft-related crimes in 2014 and 78 others have been caught in 2015. At least 190 officers implicated in corruption have been dismissed from the force over the years.

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