Senior officials on corruption charges denied bail

By Nicole Kamanzi M.
On 15 July 2020 at 02:14

The Gasabo Intermediate Court has denied bail to senior government officials and other defendants accused of conspiracy to mismanage public funds after finding their grounds for bail application unsubstantial.

Rwamuganza, the former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Godfrey Kabera, the Director-General in the Ministry of Finance, Eric Serubibi, the former Director-General of Rwanda Housing Authority (RHA) and Christian Rwakunda, who was Deputy Director-General in Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) are being prosecuted for having conspired to mismanage the purchase of a building on the behalf of the government in 2018, causing losses to the government.

The judges upheld the remand for all six defendants, saying they have a case to answer.

One of the main things that the judges emphasized was the fact that they participated in negotiation meetings that led to the purchase of the building from its owner, a process they handled in a way that was contrary to public procurement laws.

In their appeal, the defendants had also questioned the primary court’s failure to consider the securities they presented to it in order to be granted bail, to which the intermediate court rejected the securities because their value was lower than the losses estimated to have been caused by the government officials.

Of all the defendants, Rusizana is the one who presented high-value security pieces of property worth over 4.3 billion Rwandan Francs.

The defendants’ lawyers argued that court documents indicate that the decision to remand them was made on August 23, 2020, which is due next month, but it emerged that the court registrar in the previous hearing was supposed to write “June 23, 2020,” the day the decision was made.

The court said that a mistake in writing does not provide strong grounds to release the defendants, adding that there are reasons to believe that releasing them would jeopardize the case, considering that businessman Rusizana continues to deny that there was a conspiracy to set the price between himself and the officials.

The judge said that after assessing each of the defendant’s culpability, they found strong reasons to believe that the decision to award Rusizana the deal was not done in a competitive manner and he cannot deny his involvement in the process.