Rwanda: Draft Law Seeks to Bar Former Public Officials From Drawing Double Salaries

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Top government officials who leave their positions and get new jobs will no longer earn their post-duty benefits and allowances.

This follows the Senate’s approval of amendments to the Law determining allowances and fringe benefits for senior government officials.

The new amendment will also affect those dismissed with pending court cases.

By approving proposed amendments to the Organic Law n° 05/2012/OL of 03/09/2012 determining allowances and fringe benefits, senators made it possible for the government to stop paying its former top officials their post-duty benefits if they get other jobs in the private sector or in government.

The Minister for Public Service and Labour, Judith Uwizeye, welcomed the senators’ approval, indicating that the decision is in line with efficiently managing state finances.

“Allowing them these benefits wasn’t helpful in the proper management of public funds,” she said.

The draft law, approved yesterday by senators, was also approved by MPs in the Lower Chamber of Parliament.

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Deputy Henriette Mukabikino speaks as Senator Appolinaire Mushinzimana checks in the document yesterday at the plenary session at the parliament. / Faustin Niyigena

It provides that where a political leader or senior official who is entitled to salary and other benefits for a certain period of time after leaving office honourably gets employment either in government or in non-government organisations, such payment will be stopped and no top-up provided as was currently done.

“This will contribute to proper and efficient use of state finances taking into account the State capabilities,” an explanatory note sent by the Government to the legislators reads in part.

Current law on benefits

Under the current law, senior officials are entitled to certain benefits after leaving office honourably. This period is either one year or six months depending on the level of the political leader or senior official.

For a period of one year after honourably leaving office, Senior officials of the Second Category such as the president of the Senate, Speaker of Chamber of Deputies and Prime Minister, as well as the Chief Justice and Auditor General of State Finances continue to get monthly salary and all other benefits such as a furnished residence, residence allowance, payment of water and electricity bills, security services, as well as vehicle maintenance.

The revised law reduces this period to only six months and states that they won’t receive the benefits in case they get jobs during the six month period.

Those of the ‘Third and Forth Categories’ such as Vice-Presidents of the Senate, Deputy Speakers of the Chamber of Deputies, Ministers, State Ministers, Cabinet Members, Governors of Provinces, Mayor of the City of Kigali, Senators and Members of Chamber of Deputies and other Senior Officials such as the Deputy Chief Justice, Prosecutor General and Deputy Prosecutor General, and the Deputy Auditor General of State Finances who leave office honourably, continue to get monthly salary and all other related benefits they were entitled to while in office for a period of six months.

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Senator Appolinaire Mushinzimana (R), Deputies Henriette Mukabikino (C) Eugénie Mukandera presenting the project yesterday at the plenary session at the parliament. / Faustin Niyigena

The revised law has kept it that way unless they get jobs during the six month period, which means that the government will stop paying them unlike today when they would get paid for their new jobs and continue to collect their post-duty benefits.

Minister Uwizeye said it was a bit odd for the former officials to continue collecting benefits from their former jobs while they weren’t working there and still get paid for their new jobs.

The amended law has also defined circumstances under which former top officials lose eligibility to the benefits.

In the first instance, it states that basing on the grounds of termination of duties; the individual may not be entitled to a salary and benefits referred in the law if the officials leave office while there is on-going prosecution against them before courts of law.

The salary and other benefits shall continue to be calculated and retained and given to them if found not guilty.

If the former officials are found guilty, they shall not be entitled to the salaries and benefits that were retained for them during prosecution, the approved bill says.

©Alleastafrica and The New Times

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