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Rwanda: Transparency International Takes Battle Against Graft Online
Source: The New Times
Source Date: Saturday, August 24, 2013
Focus: Internet Governance
Country: Rwanda
Created: Aug 26, 2013

Even after ranking Rwanda as the least corrupt country in Africa in its latest report, Transparency International will soon unveil a web-based avenue through which Rwandans will file corruption-related complaints in a more secure and anonymous way.

The innovation is intended to encourage people who may have evidence but fear retribution from suspected corrupt officials, to come out and report abuse of public funds or bribery so as to deal a final blow to corruption.

The software known as IFATE, is under final stages of development by the local chapter of the global anti-corruption coalition, Transparency International Rwanda (TI Rwanda). It is intended to guarantee confidentiality to whistleblowers as they can be able to report cases of graft and abuse of office by sending short text messages (sms) using their mobile phones or by email from the safety of their homes, offices or even gardens. A toll-free line (2641) has been provided.

It will also help those in remote places with limited access to TI Rwanda's upcountry office to report cases without the hassle of travelling long distances or fear of being seen by the accused walking in and out of TI Rwanda premises.

In the past, Rwandans willing to report cases of corruption have had to use the TI Rwanda centres located in Kigali, Huye, Kayonza, Musanze, Rubavu and Rusizi.

Francine Umurungi, in charge of institutional development and advocacy at TI Rwanda, said that the new facility will be unveiled for public use before the end this month. IFATE guarantees utmost confidentiality because only the systems administrator at TI Rwanda head office can know the identity or the telephone number of the sender of the complaint.

Transparency International recently ranked Rwanda as the least corrupt country on the African continent in its latest report released in July, but noted that low level corruption still existed in the police force and the judiciary.

There have been calls by the Auditor General's Office and Ombudsman's Office for public involvement in the fight against corruption if the vice is to be completely eliminated. It is hoped that such innovations will empower the local population to take part in the fight against graft.

With a bribery rate of 13 per cent, Rwanda is ranked the 13th least corrupt country worldwide but cases of corruption still exist with the police and judiciary cited as the black sheep.

The Rwanda National Police recently demonstrated its zero tolerance to corruption when it fired 50 personnel convicted of "petty bribery."

Using IFATE, a whistleblower can either send sms using a mobile phone to a toll-free line (2641) or fill a form online that is available on the website: ifatetirwanda.org.

Once the information is received, it is validated and the systems administrator may get back to the sender for more details, if necessary, officials said

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