MUSANZE – Pastor Jonas Matabaro of the Evangelical Restoration Church in Musanze District, who had been arrested on allegations of mismanaging funds, was on Friday granted bail.
Matabaro was arrested along with two other employees of Compassion International; Elie Irakiza and Christopher Bizimana, for alleged mismanagement of Rwf7m which was part of the money donated by Compassion International to support cooperatives under his watch.
Presiding over a packed court room, the president of the Intermediate Court of Musanze, Izabella Riziki, said that the trio be released unconditionally until prosecution comes up with sufficient evidence.
Speaking to The New Times, after his release the cleric insisted that the case could have been resolved out of court, citing the church’s partnership deal with Compassion International.
He denied that he had misappropriated any funds, adding that there seems to have been anomalies within the audit report that formed the basis for their arrest.
However, prosecution maintains it will bring sufficient evidence to pin the pastor and his co-accused to face charges of financial mismanagement and falsification of documents.
Matabaro was reportedly arrested in his capacity as the overall coordinator of the programmes supported by the faith-based organisation in his church, and as a signatory to the account for the outreach programme.
Compassion International supports local cooperatives, especially the association of women living with HIV/Aids, Orphans and the poor, through the evangelical Restoration Church.