Dr. Habumuremyi released under prerogative of mercy

On 15 October 2021 at 06:56

On Thursday around 6p.m, former Prime Minister Dr. Pierre Damien Habumuremyi was released from Nyarugenge Prison located in Mageragere where he has spent a year and three months.

Dr. Habumuremyi was released one day after he was granted pardon by President Paul Kagame pursuant to the powers conferred upon him by the Constitution.

The pardon granted to the former Premier was announced through a cabinet communiqué released on Wednesday 13th October 2021.

Dr. Habumuremyi was handed three-year sentence after he was found guilty of issuing unguaranteed cheques.

During his trial, he asked forgiveness from President of the Republic and later sent him an apology letter.

Speaking to IGIHE, Dr. Habumuremyi voiced appreciation to Kagame for granting him mercy.

“I thank him for pardoning me because I was not expecting it. I just knew that I apologized from the bottom of my heart. Lucky enough, he has forgiven me as the President of the Republic. I warmly welcomed the mercy with great happiness,” he said.

Dr. Habumuremyi said that the apology letter also carried a message asking for forgiveness from all Rwandans.

“The prerogative of mercy granted to me is of great significance. It will always be engraved on my memory,” he revealed.

The former Premier said that he learnt a lot from prison that he won’t commit similar faults that opened prison’s doors for him. He also pledged to work with other Rwandans to build the nation.

The former Prime Minister was arrested in July 2020 following the closure of the Christian University of Rwanda (CHUR) to which he was owner and legal representative.

The university management was also accused of not paying lecturers and other employees, which had prompted an audit from the Higher Education Council.

Before closure by the Ministry of Education, his university had campuses in Kigali and another one in Karongi District.

Alleged crimes were in connection to anomalies in the management of the university where he was said to have accumulated millions of francs in debts to different suppliers to his university. The university management was also accused of not paying lecturers and other employees.

Dr. Habumuremyi owned 60 percent of the university’s shares, while his son owned 30 percent and the Vice-Chancellor 10 percent.

He was charged alongside Charles Serushyana, a former accountant of the university, but he was later acquitted.

The clemency nullifies the three-year jail term and Rwf892 fine that Dr. Habumuremyi was handed by Nyarugenge Intermediate Court on 27th November 2020.

He will however have to clear all debts he owed to plaintiffs.

Dr. Habumuremyi has told IGIHE that he will abide by laws and respect court’s resolutions.

Dr. Habumuremyi’s lawyer has said that his client has approximately Rwf30 million in debts because some plaintiffs have already received payments.

Habumuremyi served as Prime Minister of Rwanda from 7th October 2011 until 24th July 2014. Since 2015, Habumuremyi has served as the chairman of Chancellery for Heroes, National Orders and Decoration of Honour prior to his arrest.

Dr. Habumuremyi was born in Ruhondo, Musanze district on 20th February 1961. He pursued studies in different countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), France and Burkina Faso.

Former Premier, Dr. Habumuremyi after release from prison.