Prosecution makes U-turn on Mutsindashyaka case

• Former  State Minister quizzed again GASABO - The Office of the Prosecutor General now says it has obtained useful evidence implicating former State Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, Théoneste Mutsindashyaka, in the Eastern Province tender scam, it has emerged.
Former State Minister for Primary and Secondary Education Theoneste Mutsindashyaka
Former State Minister for Primary and Secondary Education Theoneste Mutsindashyaka

• Former  State Minister quizzed again

GASABO - The Office of the Prosecutor General now says it has obtained useful evidence implicating former State Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, Théoneste Mutsindashyaka, in the Eastern Province tender scam, it has emerged.

This is a new twist because Rose Mukantagengwa, a prosecutor at Kacyiru Court, had recently written to say that the prosecution did not have enough evidence to prosecute Mutsindashyaka.

Mukantagengwa had in her August 11 letter requested Kacyiru Court President, Claudine Nyiramikenke, to prosecute only persons cited in the indictment presented to court and ignore Mutsindashyaka.

But Nyiramikenke insisted that Mutsindashyaka be produced before court because he is party to the case involving former provincial official, Charles Kasana and Vincent Gatwabuyege, former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Infrastructure.

Mutsindashyaka, who was dropped from Cabinet last month, was the Governor of the Eastern Province the time the tender was awarded.

Barely two weeks after Mukantagengwa’s letter, Deputy Prosecutor General Alphonse Hitiyaremye called a press conference to say that Mutsindashyaka had committed a crime knowingly yet he was a senior government officials.

“As we continue to interrogate him, many things emerge. It’s highly possible we shall take him to court,” Hitiyaremye said yesterday at his Kimihurura offices.

By press time, Mutsindashyaka was still being interrogated by prosecution in connection with the Rwamagana tender scam.
“All Rwandans are treated equally and everybody who commits mistakes will have his day in court one day,” added Hitiyaremye.

Hitiyaremye however said that the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Infrastructure, Marie Claire Mukasine, the Director of Finance Alexis Karani and Jean Marie Vianney Makombe, then a tender committee member in Eastern Province, would not be prosecuted.

“Mukasine, Karani and Makombe never committed criminal mistakes. They committed administrative errors but had no intentions to do so,” Hitiyaremye explained.

Asked whether the former minister would be arrested basing on evidence so far obtained, Hitiyaremya sounded very guarded in his response neither did he say when Mutsindashyaka would be produced before court.

“Whenever we want him, he comes and he has been very cooperative. He is here with us today and he is being watched,” Hitiyaremye revealed.

Last month, Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga told this newspaper that “we interrogated Mutsindashyaka and we made it clear to him that some mistakes had been committed.”
It’s not yet clear what exact charges will be preferred against him.

What only Hitiyaremye said is that the former Governor is being linked to a tender that went bad in the construction of the provincial headquarters.

A charge sheet submitted in court on July 23 by the prosecution, Mutsindashyaka is suspected of having informed a construction firm Enterprise Mugarura Alexis (EMA) that it had won a tender a month before Rwanda Public Procurement Authority (RPPA) pronounced the winner.

Gatwabuyege and Kasana are charged with awarding EMA, the multi-billion tender in 2007 without following standing procedures.

It is alleged that the tender, which was had initially been worth Rwf 1.7bn was later amended twice at the request of businessman Mugarura, contrary to the standard tendering procedures.

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