Court to rule on ex-minister Imena’s case today


Evode Imena during a previous court hearing. / Courtesy

The Nyarugenge Intermediate Court will Thursday afternoon pronounce itself on a case involving the former State Minister for Mining, Evode Imena, who was released on bail back in February.

During the substantial hearing on 8 November, prosecution claimed the former cabinet member committed nepotism and favouritism in awarding a mining concession in Nyaruguru District.

In his defence, Imena denied all charges against him saying that the concession in question was lost by the entrepreneur in question before he was appointed to cabinet in February 2013.

During the hearing, Straton Ndamage, the director of Nyaruguru Mining Company Ltd, who filed a civil action against the former state minister arguing that his company lost a lot of money because of a decision taken by the former while still a minister.

The plaintiff told court that Imena should pay him him a total of Rwf686,628,609 arising from losses accrued when he lost the concession under what he called unfair circumstances.

Both Ndamage and prosecution accused Imena of illegally issuing a mining concession to a certain firm identified as Mwashamba Mining Company despite an outstanding concession for the same area acquired by Nyaruguru Mining Company Ltd.

According to prosecution, Imena committed the offence back in 2013, just months after he was appointed minister.

Presenting his defence, Imena had told court that he was in office between February 26, 2013 and October 4, 2016, arguing that some letters used to pin him are irrelevant because they were written before he even got into office.

He added that before he assumed office, the former Minister for Natural Resources, Stanislas Kamanzi, had already revoked the concession by Ndamage’s company, a claim that was not disputed by the latter.

He says that when he assumed office, Ndamage somehow managed to convince the mining commission at the ministry to re-examine his concession.

“He thought I would not be aware of the case since I was new, but I had already been briefed, hence I upheld the decision that had earlier been taken,” he said.

Imena’s lawyer told court that there was no evidence that his client made the decision based on favouritism, friendship, hatred or nepotism, adding that the accussers did not show any relationship between his client and any of the two companies in contention.

He requested the court to absolve his client of any criminal liability and rule that no compensation should be given to the plaintiff, whom he said was acting outside the law.