Wednesday 8 July 2020
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newtimes - 1 month ago

Parliament gets new Public Accounts Committee chair

Parliamentarians on Friday, June 5, 2020 unanimously voted Valens Muhakwa for the chairmanship of the Public Accounts Committee. Following his election, Muhakwa pledged to ensure that public assets are properly managed for national prosperity.   He was the only candidate for the position, and electorate which consisted of 78 lawmakers unanimously voted for him. Muhakwa replaced Jean-Chrysostome Ngabitsinze, who was appointed Minister of State in charge of Agriculture and Animal Resources, on March 9, 2020. Like Ngabitsinze, Muhakwa also represents the Social Democratic Party (PSD) in parliament. Speaking to The New Times after his election, Muhakwa said that public finances and assets belong to the people of Rwanda, and lawmakers have the duty to ensure value for money on public expenditure. “As parliamentarians, we are duty-bound to ensure public funds are used for what they were intended to. It is in that framework that as the mandate of the Committee stipulates, we should make sure that no single coin from the public coffers is embezzled or mismanaged because it was designed for the progress of the people,” he said. “That is my priority, and I hope that I, in partnership with my colleagues in PAC, will achieve it,” he said.   On how he intends to achieve his goal, he said that his committee will ensure the rule of law is upheld, carry out assessment for audit reports, as well as regular monitoring and evaluations of public assets including budget. “In Rwanda, no one is above the law. The law will hold any person accountable no matter what power they have. ... our Committee’s work is provided for by the law,” he observed. “The Committee analyses various reports especially that of the Office of the Auditor-General and submits assessment reports to parliamentary plenary. When [financial] crimes are identified, they are handled by competent entities, and the culprits are brought to book,” he pointed out. Muhakwa, 37, holds a Master’s degree in Public International Law, and has been an MP since 2018. Meanwhile, the Parliamentary plenary also elected MP Veneranda Myirahirwa as the Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Land, Agriculture, Livestock and Environment, a post at which she replaced former MP Ignatienne Nyirarukundo who was appointed Minister in Charge of Social Affairs at the Ministry of Local Government. Nyirahirwa, who was also the sole candidate for the position, received 77 votes of 78 parliamentary voters.  Until the election, Nyirahirwa was the deputy chairperson of the same Committee. She will be deputised by Germaine Mukabalisa who was voted for the deputy-president of the Committee, with 76 votes.


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