An official of Burundi’s main anti-graft watchdog group claims that funds allocated to President Pierre Nkurunziza’s office have been misused and urged parliament not to approve the 2010 budget.
Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza
Proster Niyoyankana said his organization’s investigation uncovered that part of an estimated $1.6 million earmarked for infrastructural development including schools was used to build private homes and offices for members of the ruling CNDD-FDD party.
“According to our investigation, we have realized that monies have been used not according to the law but has been used by the president’s (office) without any regard to the law. There has not been competition between businessmen (to provide) for example all building materials,” he said.
Niyoyankana, general secretary of the Anti-corruption and Economic Malpractice Observatory (Olucome) said despite criticisms from the government his organization wants accountability from the government.
“We are able to face criticism if ever it is true, but we are not affiliated to any political party…we are just struggling against corruption, mismanagement and other embezzlement. We are only aiming to improve good governance,” Niyoyankana said.
He said the investigation also found inconsistencies in the money allocated for the president's vehicles, saying that "figures show that each car guzzles 118 litres of petrol a day".
Burundi is recovering from a 13-year old civil war.
But Onisime Nduwimana, a leading member of the ruling CNDD-FDD denied the charges, claiming the allegations are meant to score cheap political points ahead of next year’s general election.
“That is not true. That is only for political reasons because we are in a special election times. When we have elections in Burundi (people seek) for political positions and I think that (allegation) is not true. It is not possible that our president used the government money to build houses for party (members). It is an exaggeration because of the period we are living it depends on election,” Nduwimana said.
The parliament is currently reviewing the government’s 2010 budget proposal, before a scheduled Senate examination.
Burundi’s upcoming general election is scheduled for 2010.