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Burundi’s minister of justice fires magistrates over corruption allegations

A year in power, the government of Burundi has sacked officials alleged with corruption, poor performance, or compliance failure in society’s assigned duties.

Burundi’s Minister of Justice Jeanine Nibizi/PhotoFile

Jeanine Nibizi, Burundi Minister of Justice, has dismissed the head judges of both Bisoro and Gisozi communal courts in Mwaro Province (Central Burundi) along with all magistrates of Kayokwe to be replaced within one month. It happened while meeting the population on the 9th of July 2021 whose complaints reached the Minister.

It is reported that the justice of Burundi has been accused of bribery which deprives appropriate verdicts and leads to long procedures to appeal or cases to be settled out_ from 2 to 5 years for a case to be pronounced. Hence, cases fell through.

In her speech, Mrs. Nibizi warned anyone who unwillingly does not satisfy the population reminding them what their primary duty, working for the sake of the nation.

”Magistrates who cannot comply with people’s needs and who do not work according to law ethics will be dismissed from their positions. Besides, judges have obligations to foster parenthood and make fair judgments for victims’ interests,” said the Minister.

After he was sworn in in June 2020, Burundi’s Ndayishimiye pledged to fight corruption and laziness in different state-owned institutions. He called on all citizens to work fervently so as to serve their nation instead of accumulating private wealth, hammering the country into poverty.

Twelve months later, he [the President of Burundi] has fired one minister and two Directors General. In a statement, the president said that their actions “may stunt the country’s economy and tarnish the image of the country”.

Recently, on June 21st, 2021, the president of Burundi sacked live Albert Maniratunga, then Director General of OTRACO (Burundi Public Transportation Corporation). He was accused of failing to meet the deadline set by the president of two months to dispatch the company’s services from the capital city Bujumbura to some other provinces.

Maniratunga was also alleged of long queues for certificate seekers. This was a result of poor service marred with corruption. It is reported that a certificate which was supposed to be delivered in 24 hours would take a week.

At the beginning of May, the Head of State fired Immaculée Ndabaneze, then Minister of Trade, Tourism, and Transport. She was suspected of embezzlement and accused of having illegally sold the last plane of the company Air Burundi without agreement of Burundian authorities.

The other two Directors General have been dismissed from their duties due to corruption allegations including Christian Kwizera (Director General of Programming and Budget) in March 2021 and Mr. Emile Ndayisaba (Director General of the Burundi Road Agency) in January 2021 accused of poor performance in the roads sector.

Curiously, it is not only the president of Burundi fired officials but also Gervais Ndirakobuca. The boss of the Home Affairs and of Public Security Ministry joined him in the battle in April, 2021. He fired all the country’s communal tax collectors. According to him, around USD 1 million was embezzled by them each month.

“Around BIF 476 Billion [USD 244,289,477] have been lost in 2020 at the communal revenues level.  Again, BIF 1,793,278,113 [USD 920,334] was ditched”, says the Ministry of Home Affairs and of Public Security.

Since June 2020, the Burundian Government under the leadership of President Ndayishimiye have expanded efforts to boost the economic state of affairs infringed by the contested third term of late Pierre Nkurunziza which led to the suspension of the direct foreign aid to the government.

According to the 2021 World Bank report, the economic growth in Burundi is estimated at 0.3% in 2020 against 1.8% in 2019. However, the country is counted among the poorest countries in the world. The recent Human Development Report by UNDP classifies Burundi at 185 out of 189 countries. “Burundi’s Human Development Index (HDI) value for 2019 is 0.433,” mentions the report.

In 2019, Burundi was listed the 165th of 180 most corrupted countries with 19/100 by Non-Governmental Transparency International and the second most corrupted in the East African Community.

Reported by Espoir Iradukunda, Edited and approved for publication by Egide H. Ngenzebuhoro

Espoir Iradukunda
Espoir Iradukunda
Data Investigative Journalist


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