Rwandan Coffee Farmers Count Their Loses

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Coffee farmers in the districts of Kirehe and Kayonza are counting their losses and raising their arms in protest after finding out senior members of local cooperatives have embezzling money and stock levels.

According to the reports from Rwanda, many of the people implicated fled before they were publically outed.

Members of the COACMU Cooperative are believed to have been swindled out of Rwf60 million ($78,500) by their bosses.

The purported robbery has seriously affected some people. Gaspard Habaguhirwa, a farmer affiliated with the COACMU Cooperative, told one local newspaper that some people are struggling to pay off debts and loans because of the lack of funds. And, to make matters worse, he said that banks were circling, threatening to confiscate possessions and property in the event of non-payment.

“Farming is our business. It is the way to make ends meet. It is now difficult and almost impossible to support our children, give them school fees and pay for medical [bills],” Habaguhirwa said.

“We had made some [real] progress, but now we are back to square zero after the theft.

“We had really made progress, only to be informed that we had lost Rwf60 million to our own managers.”

Habaguhirwa would go on to say that some members of the cooperative had grown suspicious as far back as 2012 when managers stopped sending out detail information regarding financial transactions.

The Executive Secretary for the Musaza Sector, Pascal Rwabuhihi, has commented on the grotty situation. The politician believes that that the cooperative’s managers ran into financial difficulties, which resulted in a number of the senior figures using the cooperative’s money to hide and cover their debts before absconding.

“They took a bank loan of Rwf200 million, which they shared and ignored servicing within the agreed timeframe,” Rwabuhihi said.

The key suspects in the case include the cooperative’s (former?) president and treasurer.

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