- Rwandan President Paul Kagame declared on Wednesday his personal and family assets to the state ombudsman, as part of efforts to promote transparency and curb corruption in the central African nation.
In doing so, President Kagame becomes one of the first senior Rwandan government officials to declare his wealth, an event that is to be carried out annually.
However, under Rwandan law, details of Mr Kagame's assets cannot be made public unless the ombudsman finds discrepancies between what is officially declared and what President Kagame possesses.
- We have received the president's declaration but we are prohibited from revealing the contents, Tito Rutaremara, the ombudsman, said at a news conference in the Rwandan capital, Kigali.
The ombudsman's office is an independent national body that investigates citizens' complaints against public officials, their government or its administration. In many countries it has no powers of prosecution. However, under Rwanda's constitution, the ombudsman's office is charged with "fighting injustice, corruption and related malpractice in public and private entities."
- Though the level of corruption in the country is not high compared to other countries in the region, we want to ensure that corruption does not take root in this country, Mr Rutaremara said.
In August 2003, President Joseph Kabila of neighbouring Congo Kinshasa (DRC) declared his wealth as part of a similar nationwide effort to fight corruption. Members of the Congo's transitional government subsequently vowed to submit their declarations of wealth.
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