Prosecution seeks 20-year sentence for Bamporiki

By Zaninka Umutesi
On 21 September 2022 at 04:25

The Prosecution has asked Nyarugenge Intermediary Court to convict the former State Minister in the Ministry of Youth and Culture, Edouard Bamporiki of the crimes of receiving a bribe and abuse of office, hand him 20-year jail term and charge him Rwf200 million fine.

The Prosecution made the request as Bamporiki’s trial in substance began on Wednesday 21st September 2022.

The prosecution revealed that this crime was investigated, after a businessman identified as Gatera Norbert who owns the Norbert Business Group that produces alcoholic drinks, wrote to Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) complaining about the injustice done to him by Bamporiki.

The businessman said that he harassed him and asked for a bribe, threatening him to close his businesses.

They include a Gin factory and a garden known as the Romantic Garden hosting weddings and other social gatherings in Gisozi.

Eight days after filing a complaint to RIB, Gatera wrote to the City of Kigali that his factory was closed because it did not meet the requirements, according to information provided by Bamporiki.

He advised himself to seek out Bamporiki’s help to get his business to reopen. At that time he asked him for the amount of money he would be willing to halt the closure of his businesses.

They agreed to meet at the Grande Legacy Hotel, Bamporiki assured him that he would connect him with the Vice Mayor of the City of Kigali in charge of Urbanization and Infrastructure, Dr. Merard Mpabwanamaguru, and help him open the factory.

On the evening of May 4, 2022, Gatera nd his friend met Bamporiki with Mpabwanamaguru.

At that time, Bamporiki asked Gatera to go and bring the money, when he brought it, Bamporiki gave the order to put it at the ’Reception’.

When they were sitting at the hotel, the four of them continued to have dinner until 24 minutes past midnight on May 5, 2022.

At that time, they were going out, they were arrested in the parking lot because Gatera had informed the police. Some of the money was found in Mpabwanamaguru’s car, some in Bamporiki’s, while the rest was at the Reception.

The prosecution revealed that Bamporiki, purposely acting as he would close Gatera’s factory, asked for a bribe of Rwf10 million so that he would not report the factory.

As the prosecution said, when Bamporiki saw that Gatera was not going to give him the Rwf10 million bribe, he hurried to inform Vice Mayor Mpabwanamaguru, who immediately went to close the factory.

The prosecution also indicated that he exercised his authority, after Gatera agreed to give him money where Bamporiki called Vice Mayor Mpabwanamaguru to come and meet with Gatera, to open the factory.

Another piece of evidence produced by the Prosecution is that Bamporiki was questioned and admitted to have reported the factory.

He also assured Gatera that if he gave him the money, his company would be opened and he would work and develop.

On the crime of using the power given to him by law for his own benefit, the Prosecutor explained that when Gatera’s wife was arrested, Bamporiki asked her for Rwf10 million to get her released.

These are the things that the Prosecution says that Mr. Bamporiki himself admitted during interrogation.

In his defense, Bamporiki began by apologizing to the entire Rwandan community, noting that he hurried to explain what happened and apologized realizing that what he did could be a crime.

Bamporiki said that Mpabwanamaguru came to see him and told him that there was news that the City of Kigali found out that he was the co-owner of a company with Gatera Norbert, that is causing problems to people.

At that time, he replied that the factory belonged to Gatera. That was the information he gave him, as opposed to the fact that he demanded that the factory be closed.

After the factory was closed, Gatera went to Bamporiki’s house and told him that his factory was closed and that Mpabwanamaguru could help him to open it.

At that time, Bamporiki called Mpabwanamaguru and told him that his friend’s factory was closed, the other told him that it was not him who closed it, but it was done by the City’s management.

"I’m in front of the court and I’m telling the truth as much as I can about what happened and I’m not omitting anything," he said.

Bamporiki is said to have had a meeting with Gatera to connect him with Mpabwanamaguru to negotiate, which ended on May 4, 2022.

Bamporiki had called Mpabwanamaguru and told him that they could meet and watch a football match, and that is how they ended up at the Grande Legacy Hotel.

When he arrived, he told him that he was with his friend Gatera who is the owner of the factory which got closed.

Bamporiki said that what he accepts and aplogize, is that they told him that they brought money, and told them to drop it at the Reception.

Mpabwanamaguru is said to have conveyed to him the request to open the factory and visited them, telling them that it is not possible because the place where it was operating in Gisozi is not dedicated for factories, and advise them to relocate it to Masoro, in the Special Economic Zone.

Bamporiki says that in the end, all four of them continued to watch the football and have a drink. As he said, they found the Police officers waiting for them outside as they left the hotel.

Bamporiki told the Court that the money brought by Gatera and his friend was not brought to him as they had told him that they only prepared a beer for Mpabwanamaguru.

Of the money, Rwf2 million was taken to Mpabwanamaguru’s car, and the rest was dropped at the Reception to be used to pay for drinks, according to Bamporiki.

In conclusion, he said that out of respect for the Judges, what he owes to the President of Rwanda and Rwandans, he never advised Gatera to close his factory.

He stressed that he has no authority to close or open the factory, especially because the Kigali Municipality has the authority, and he pointed out that the factory was opened the day after his arrest.

In releasing Gatera’s wife, Bamporiki said that what he did was advocacy, not imposing what to do.

At that time, he called RIB and asked if the woman was with them. They explained what she had done, and then she was released.

Bamporiki was represented by lawyers Evode Kayitana and Jean Baptiste Habyarimana.

Lawyer Habyarimana said that according to the law, the person he is defending has not committed a crime because there is no evidence that he asked for or received a bribe.

The prosecution concluded by asking the Court to validate the accusations against Bamporiki, asked for a 10-year prison sentence and a fine five times the bribe he solicited.

This makes it Rwf20 million times five.

For the crime of using the power given to him by law for his own benefit, they requested that he should be sentenced to 10 years in prison and a fine of Rwf100 million.

In combining the penalties, the prosecution requested that he should be sentenced to a total of 20 years in prison and be charged a fine of Rwf200 million.

Bamporiki said that it is an extreme punishment where he would be no longer useful to Rwanda. He asked the court to review his case and grant him mercy.

His lawyer Habyarimana said that his sentence should be no more than five years, with bail, in case his client is found guilty.

The ruling will be read on September 30, 2022, at 8 am.