There are fake construction permits on the market, City of Kigali warns
When Joyce, a US-based Rwandan national, wanted to build commercial residential apartments in her home country, she entrusted her brother, Innocent Kimenyi to see through the process, right from the procurement of the construction permit, to supervising the works.
The multi-storied house was set up in Nyarugunga Sector, Kicukiro District, where she had acquired land.
Kimenyi went ahead and contracted one Francois ‘Bonfils’ Hategekimana, whom he knew as an architect, to make a design for the building as well as process the construction permit from the city Building Permits Management Information System (BPMIS).
Hategekimana told Kimenyi that the structural designs and the procurement of the permit would cost Rwf2.9 million.
Unknown to Kimenyi was the fact that Hategekimana was not an accredited architect and him and his sister are paying dearly for this.
According to information available to The New Times, Hategekimana tried to process the permit using the credentials of another accredited architect.
Unfortunately, the City of Kigali’s One Stop Center rejected the application of the construction permit because it did not comply with the set terms and conditions to get it.
Through the system, the City of Kigali suggested some adjustments that needed to be done to secure the construction permit but Hategekimana, grew impatient and decided to forge a permit.
He presented the forged permit with which used to start the construction activities in December 2019.
On a number of occasions during inspections, the City engineers observed recurrent mistakes on the structure, which they recommended the site engineer to adjust but in vain.
It was in July that city engineers decided to run the construction permit in their system and found it was non-existent. It was forged.
On interrogation, Kimenyi informed the authorities that the permit had been processed by Hategekimana, who was later found to be a quack architect.
Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) picked up the case and the suspect was arrested.
“I did not know that the permit was fake until the city engineers told me so. I had to report the architect so they can hold him accountable because he is already putting me into unexpected losses,” Kimenyi said.
Fortunately, the entire structure was not brought down but the city engineers recommended modifications that required bringing down parts of the building.
“On top of that, I had to pay a further Rwf1, 500,000 to a certified architect to get his building design modified so he can be allowed to resume construction activities.
A RIB personnel attached to the City of Kigali told The New Times that Hategekimana’s case was forwarded to the prosecution, becoming the third suspect arrested for forging construction permits this year, according to the City of Kigali.
According to Rwanda Institute of Architects (RIA), such forgery cases are committed by quack architects who are not recognized by the institution.
Speaking to The New Times, Emmanuel Nyirinkindi, the Executive Secretary of RIA, said that such practices bring in disrepute the image of the sector in general.
“Not any architect registered in our council has ever been involved in forgery of any construction document. Such mistakes are in most cases committed by self-proclaimed architects and it’s a worrying situation for us because our image, as professional architects, is in danger as long as there are quack…