KICUKIRO - A former minister as well as Member of Parliament (MP), Munyanganizi Bikoro, was yesterday sentenced to two years in jail by the Kagarama Lower Instance Court, after he was found guilty of corruption.
The verdict read by court president, Janvier Muhire, found him guilty of underhandedly evading taxes on building tiles he received from a Spanish company, Espina Obras Hidraulicas.
Bikoro’s co-accused, Luis Duenas Herrera, a Spanish national who also represents Espina in the country, was convicted on two counts of corruption and tax evasion, and sentenced to three years in prison.
The third accused, Jean Bosco Bavakure, an engineer with the National Drinking Water Purification Programme (PNEAR) who was also the overseer of the project, will spend one year in jail for complicity in the tax evasion scam.
Espina, was exempted from taxes on all imported materials to be used in a water purification project which they had been contracted by the national water and energy utility Electrogaz to undertake.
However, customs officials later discovered a large consignment that contained building tiles which were not listed on the exempted equipment for the project. They later turned out to belong to Bikoro and had by-passed the normal customs checks.
Bikoro, who is also a former State Minister for Water and Mines, stood trial out of detention and was present during the pronouncement of the verdict.
“Court finds that Bikoro defence is contradicting Espina’s representative who said during investigations that the tiles belonged to his friend who turned out to be Bikoro,” Muhire ruled.
The estranged former lawmaker had during the trial admitted that the tiles belonged to him but said he was going to pay for them. He however could not clarify how he would pay.
Clad in a black suit and yellow shirt with a neck tie, Bikoro who was flanked by his lawyer Emmanuel Rukangira stood speechless after the verdict.
Prosecution had earlier requested that court sentences the aging politician to five years in prison.