Controversy emerged yesterday as incarcerated top officials of Rwanda Institute of Administration and Management (RIAM) were arraigned before court for a hearing on their pre-trial detention.
The trial involves RIAM boss Mark Kabandana, the Director of Administration and Finance, Faustin Mugisha and Accountant Annet Mbabazi.
Another accomplice is one Dominique Rwaka a businessman accused of abuse of public funds.
Over Rwf200m was allegedly unaccounted for in RIAM after an audit carried by Auditor General’s office for 2008.
Lawyers representing the trio changed the face of trial when they accused prosecution of illegal detention of their clients and bringing them to court with insufficient evidence.
“My lord, first of all, my client was arrested illegally---he was not given chance to plead his case on the accusation against him before he was arrested,” Gatera Gashabana, lawyer for Kabandana challenged prosecution.
“He was arrested basing on an Auditor General’s report that is even not yet public; neither was he given chance to cross check its draft nor final report as rules and regulations governing auditing provide---- even the prosecution does not have any piece from this report,” Gatera said.
Another lawyer representing Mugisha blamed prosecution for mudslinging his client that he was arrested at the airport trying to sneak out of the country.
“My client was arrested at Kisementi near Hotel Chez Lando, contrary to what has been said in the media, this is misleading the public by prosecution’s use of mass media,” Lawyer, Laurent Bugabo said.
However, prosecution represented by Noel Ndegeyingoma challenged Mugisha’s lawyer that the latter was not accused of escaping but embezzling public fund.
Ndegeyingoma also told court that the law was followed to the latter in arresting and detaining the suspect, including prior interrogations as the law stipulates.
Meanwhile, the accomplice, Rwaka accepted having withdrawn money from RIAM accounts in different banks but under the directive of one Sam Mupenzi who is currently on the run.
“Mupenzi was my friend; he called telling me he had an odd job (Kiraka) for me which was to represent a ghost company he had set up which was supplying different materials to RIAM.
My role was to sign invoices and withdrawing money for payments from the institution’s accounts,” Rwaka told court.
Rwaka said he would go with Mupenzi to withdraw the money from different banks and would be paid each day he worked.
The ruling for the pre-trial detention is set for today