Bamporiki appeals for suspended sentence

On 19 December 2022 at 01:36

Edouard Bamporiki, the former State Minister in the Ministry of Youth and Culture has appeared before the High Court to challenge a sentence and a fine handed to him by Nyarugenge Intermediate Court this year over two counts of fraudulent acquisition of another person’s property and abusing the authority given to him by the law.

The court handed him a four-year jail sentence and a fine of Rwf60 million on September 30.

Bamporiki and his defence lawyers Evode Kayitana and Jean Baptiste Habyarimana have told the court that they have three reasons that prompted them to appeal alluding to leniency and suspended sentence.

Lawyer Habyarimana said that the first reason is the request to acquit Bamporiki of the crime of abusing power.

As for this crime, Bamporiki is accused of having received Rwf10 million from Norbert Gatera to help him secure the release of his wife arrested over corruption charges.

His defence lawyers said that the money was offered for appreciation. They defended their client saying that he could not influence law enforcers yet he served as State Minister.

Secondly, the defendant and his defence team requested the reduction of Rwf60 million fine because fraudulent acquisition would attract a fine between Rwf3 and 5 million.

They said that the fine would also reduce to Rwf30 million in case mitigating circumstances are taken into consideration. Bamporiki also appealed for leniency.

“I am not innocent. It would not be reasonable to say that I am here without having committed offences. I humbly apologize for having received what I did not deserve. While I was advocating for someone, they came with money considered as a symbol of appreciation. I apologize and forgiveness can be a foundation for me to be an important person,” he said.

Bamporiki went on to say that it would not take long to prove that he is a transformed man and advise other people lest they stumble as it happened to him.

Habyarimana said that Bamporiki is an honest person as he disclosed circumstances of his case, apologized and took to Twitter messages expressing remorse for committed crime.

He requested the court to suspend the sentence handed to Bamporiki given that it was his first time to receive such punishment.

Lawyer Kayitana also explained that Bamporiki is an important person to the country who played a role in the country’s unity and reconciliation efforts, Ndi Umunyarwanda, national civic education and others even though it should not be an excuse for involvement in crimes.

“We request his release for common interests. His remorse should be considered to release him to continue building Rwanda being out of prison. He admitted the crime from the Prosecution. We request for suspension of his sentence and charged fine,” he noted.

The defence team also requested for suspended sentence and lenient fine on grounds of the sickness of Bamporiki’s wife undergoing medical attention in France where she was transferred from King Faisal Hospital.

The Prosecution dismissed Bamporiki’s request objecting that the crime was committed by an official who is also familiar with the legal field.

On the other side, the Prosecution also appealed against the sentence handed to him claiming that there are some unreviewed constituents of the crime of receiving bribe, an addition to lessened punishment.

The Prosecution underscored that the High Court did not consider the fact that Bamporiki was an official who used his authority to commit the crime.

The court said that there are reasons to mitigate the crime which the Prosecution rejected.

The verdict will be delivered on 16th January 2022.