MP Bikoro loses immunity to be prosecuted on tax evasion

The parliamentary Bureau chaired by Speaker Rose Mukantabana on Monday voted to strip lawmaker Bikoro Munyanganizi of his immunity so that he can be investigated on alleged tax evasion.
 MP Munyanganizi Bikoro.
MP Munyanganizi Bikoro.

The parliamentary Bureau chaired by Speaker Rose Mukantabana on Monday voted to strip lawmaker Bikoro Munyanganizi of his immunity so that he can be investigated on alleged tax evasion.

The Parliament lifted Bikoro’s immunity on the request of the Prosecutor General’s Office that sent a file containing how the lawmaker evaded taxes.

“He is alleged of dodging taxes on some equipment he purchased from abroad, that is why we requested the parliament to lift his immunity so that we can investigate the case,” said the Prosecution spokesman Augustin Nkusi.

Bikoro is a first term lawmaker who last year resigned his cabinet post to join the August House.

Prosecution however refused to release details of the case saying it was still early. When contacted on phone yesterday, the Deputy Speaker in charge of legal affairs and control of government activities Denis Polisi confirmed the lifting of Bikoro’s immunity.

“I am yet to know the details; I have not been in the country,” said Polisi.

MP Bikoro also confirmed to The New Times that his immunity has been stripped.

“The reason behind this is that I could face the judiciary in a case involving a Spanish national who is being held in custody for tax evasion,” said Bikoro.

The case in which Bikoro is allegedly involved also has in it Luis Duenas Herrera (the Spanish) and Jean Bosco Bavakure who were arrested after a tip-off by Rwanda Revenue Authority.

Herrera was the head of Espina Obras Hidraulicas, a water purifying company that operates in Kenya, Sudan, Iraq and Uruguay, while Bavakure, is an engineer with the National Drinking Water Purification Programme (PNEAR).

Bikoro is a former Minister of State for Environment, Water and Mines in the Ministry of Natural Resources.

Earlier reports indicate that Espina was contracted to purify water from Nyabarongo River before being channelled to Electrogaz (National Power and Water Utility) system.

Bavakure is alleged to have helped secure a tax exemption for the company in accordance with the law for equipment to be used in purification works, but some of the consignment included house tiles that are suspected to have been going to build Bikoro’s house.

However, despite lifting of his immunity, Bikoro is still a serving Member of Parliament.

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