Court upholds bail for former RCA boss

By Esther Muhozi
On 10 November 2023 at 08:27

The Nyarugenge Intermediate Court has upheld the decision of the the Primary Court to grant bail to Jean-Bosco Harelimana, the former Director-General of Rwanda Cooperative Agency (RCA), along with his co-accused, Claver Hakizimana (the procurement officer at RCA), and Liliane Gahongayire (a former logistics officer at the agency).

The charges against the trio relate to the violation of public tender procedures and the misuse of public resources. The prosecution had appealed the lower court’s decision, citing reasons such as overlooked critical evidence and premature completion of the investigation.

During the appeal ruling on November 9, the presiding judge noted that the prosecution failed to explain how the defendants, once released, would interfere with the ongoing investigation. The court observed the defendants’ consistent compliance with orders, leading to the conclusion that their detention was unnecessary. Consequently, the court ruled to grant them bail pending the trial.

In their appeal, the prosecution contested the lower court’s decision on various grounds.

Regarding Harelimana, they argued that the Primary Court had dismissed an audio recording submitted as evidence, in which Harelimana purportedly claimed authority to hire and fire anyone in the institution. The court considered the recording inadmissible, citing alleged lack of consent during its acquisition.

The prosecution also challenged the consideration of only audio evidence for the charge of influence peddling, claiming that other factors implicating Harelimana were disregarded.

Concerning Hakizimana, they asserted that the Primary Court overlooked evidence linking him to the crimes for which he was prosecuted.

In Gahongayire’s case, the prosecution argued against her dismissal as a suspect, contending that her signing of a delivery note for unreceived items led to improper payments by RCA.

Despite the prosecution’s request to remand the suspects for further investigation, the defendants pleaded not guilty, emphasizing their cooperation with reporting obligations and adherence to bail conditions, such as restricted travel beyond Kigali.