NYAMAGABE – Police in Nyamagabe district are holding two Gacaca court judges who were caught red-handed receiving a bribe from a local resident over a ‘trumped-up’ Gacaca related case.
Acting on a tip-off from the victim, one Venuste Humure, a resident of Kamegeri Sector, the Police arrested Charles Kayitare, the President of the Kamegeri Gacaca Appeals Court and the court secretary, Origene Karanganwa, receiving Rwf15,000 from the victim.
Police sources say the two Gacaca officials threatened to summon Humure to court to answer charges related to his alleged role in the 1994 Genocide, yet there were no charges against him.
“They asked him to pay Rwf20 000 for them to rule in his favour,” said the police source, adding, “he gave them Rwf5000 out of which they bought local beer and promised to give them the balance the following day in Nyamagabe town.”
“They were arrested red-handed while receiving the Rwf15,000 on the fateful day,” added the source.
Karangwa later on admitted that the victim had no case before the court. The trumped-up charges was thus meant to induce a bribe.
“I regret my actions and ask for forgiveness,” said Karangwa, adding, “We used the trumped-up charges in an attempt to extort money from him.”
The Gacaca president, Kayitare, also admitted to having solicited for a bribe from the resident who had no case to answer before court.
“This is the only time I have involved myself in corrupt tendencies in my five years of service in Gacaca Courts. Am begging for leniency,” he said.
Inspector of Police Vincent Habintwari of the Nyamagabe Police Station noted that the cooperation of the local people is important, if the fight against corruption is to succeed.
“We encourage local people to report such cases to Police and other local authorities. It is through this cooperation that this vice will be stemmed,” said Habintwari.
The duo is expected to appear in court on March 2. They face a five year maximum sentence if convicted.