President Paul Kagame will one-day account for Rwandan pension funds

Evidently Angelique Kantengwa, has been arrested for mismanagement and corruption. It is alleged that these acts were committed when she was director general of Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB), a position from which she was fired in March 2014.

I got to know Kantengwa fairly well over the years when I was in Rwanda. She is one of the most accomplished managers and leaders I met in that country. Before leading RSSB for nearly 3 years (2011-2014), she had taken one-year course in public management at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government in 2010-2011. Prior to that, Kantengwa had had a distinguished career as senior director responsible for financial stability at the Central Bank of Rwanda-BNR for nearly 16 years.

I cannot fathom how this remarkable woman leader and manager could have committed offences loudly proclaimed by Rwandan police at the time of her arrest.

What I do not, however, is that RSSB and the pension funds the agency is responsible for have been in a state of chaos that benefits the RPF firms; this factor therefore directly links RSSB shenanigans to the head of state and RPF chairman – Paul Kagame. Let me illustrate this with specific examples to show how RSSB has in fact become RPF private bank:

# Look at the accompanying photo with the Kagames and Kantengwa at the opening of East African Granite Industries (EAGI) owed by Kagame’s RPF. EAGI was financed by RSSB which is why you see Kantengwa in the photograph, in her capacity as head of RSSB.

# Ruriba Clays is another RPF company partially bought with RSSB money.

# On its website the East African Granite Industries Ltd proudly states that it “is a new entity, set up and run under the Holding Company known as Building Materials Investments (BMI).” That is the code name for RSSB money. BMI is holding company conveniently formed by RPF companies (Crystal Ventures) together with Rwandan military companies (Horizon) and RSSB to access pension funds. Such scandalous marriage ridden with conflict of interest could no happen in any country that has a functioning parliament.

# We have previously shown how over US$20 million of RSSB money were ploughed by Kagame himself into a start-up biotech company based in Boston, USA – but this is another story.

What is shocking about Kagame’s Rwanda, you will not find any of these transactions recorded on RSSB’s books and annual reports. Absolutely not!

When you see Kagame regularly changing director generals at RSSB, don’t be surprised. With assets of over half billion US dollars, RSSB is a cash cow that must be kept constantly unstable in order to freely take advantage. The quick rise and fall of Henry Gaperi (resigned in 2010 and threatened with arrest), Africa Ramba (2011), Angelique Kantengwa (2011-2014 currently under arrest) and now Daniel Ufitikirezi – that is 4 CEOs in 4 years. And that is Kagame’s management style. In the real world such high turnover in senior management is recipe for disaster.

There is one “small” problem, however. Nothing lasts forever. Kagame who is currently above the law will one day account for why Rwandan people’s pensions turned into company financing for private ends. In this sense Kantengwa and others accused of corruption may turn out to be witnesses to the moral decay at the very top of present-day Rwandan leadership.


Dr David Himbara