Prosecutors have asked Nyarugenge Intermediate Court to jail suspended State Minister for Youth and Culture Edouard Bamporiki for 20 years and hand him a fine of Rwf200 million. The out-spoken politician is charged with soliciting and receiving a bribe, as well as abusing the authority given to him by the law to advance selfish interests. Bamporiki appeared before court on Wednesday, September 21 for his substantive trial, during which, for the first time, details surrounding the case for which he was suspended from office became public. According to prosecution, Bamporiki committed the crimes in May this year when he received a Rwf5 million bribe from a local businessman called Norbert Gatera, on promise that he would help him reopen his closed alcohol brewing factory. Addressing the presiding judge, the prosecutors said the businessman was initially informed by Bamporiki that his gin manufacturing plant would be closed because it was located in a residential area. Bamporiki then proposed to him that he would help him remain in operation on condition that he gives him a bribe of Rwf10m which initially, the businessman did not want to pay. After a few days, the factory was closed. At that time, Gatera approached Bamporiki and asked him to assist him in the reopening process, and he agreed. However, unbeknown to the politician, the businessman had already informed Rwanda Investigation Bureau. The two met at Grand Legacy Hotel, where Bamporiki had promised to have Gatera meet with Merard Mpabwanamaguru, the Vice-Mayor in charge of Urbanisation and Infrastructure in the City of Kigali, who would facilitate the reopening of the business. The meeting took place on the night of May 4 and was also attended by a one Shema, a business associate to Gatera. While there, Bamporiki then instructed Gatera to bring the money and momentarily keep it at the reception. The meeting continued up to midnight. When the four got out of the hotel, they found RIB personnel waiting for them in the parking lot. Part of the money was found in Mpabwanamaguru’s car (having been sent to his driver on Bamporiki’s orders), while some was still at the reception. From then, the investigators launched a probe into the issue, which culminated into the prosecution of the ex-minister. If convicted of the crimes, prosecutors say, Bamporiki should be handed twenty years in jail and a fine of Rwf 200 million, in case there are no mitigating circumstances. In his defence, Bamporiki told court that he admits he received the bribe, but denied he had any hand in the closure of Gatera’s business. He noted Gatera was his friend for a long time, and when he informed him that his business had been closed, he promised to link him up with the Vice Mayor to assist him reopen it, adding that he did not ask for money for this service. However, on the day that they met at the hotel, Bamporiki says, Gatera came with money and offered it to him, which he accepted, and that is “when” his part in the crime started. Once again he asked for forgiveness from the President, Rwandans and the presiding judge. The court will pronounce its verdict on the 30th of this month.