Court upholds decision to remand govt officials in public tender case

Rwamuganza consults with his lawyer Moise Nkundabarashi at Gasabo Primary Court in June . / Courtesy

The Gasabo Intermediate Court has upheld a 30-day remand for top government officials facing charges related to flouting of procedures in a multi-billion public tender.

The officials include Caleb Rwamuganza, the former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning; Godfrey Kabera, the Director-General for Planning in the Ministry of Finance; Eric Serubibi, the former Director-General of Rwanda Housing Authority; and Christian Rwankunda, the former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Infrastructure.

 

They are being prosecuted for having conspired to mismanage the purchase of a building on the behalf of the government in 2018, causing losses to the government.

 

They are charged along with local businessman Aloys Rusizana, former owner of the building in question and Bonaventure Munyabugingo, a private property valuer.

 


The building in question is an office block opposite Umubano Hotel in Kacyiru.

According to prosecution, it was valued at Rwf7.5 billion but was later purchased by the government at Rwf9.8 billion.

All the six were denied bail on June 23 by the Gasabo Primary Court, a decision they appealed against on July 3, presenting a number of reasons that, according to them, the primary court had not given enough consideration while making the previous ruling.

On Tuesday, July 14, the Gasabo intermediate court delivered its ruling in regard to the bail appeal. Here, the judges upheld the remand for all six defendants, saying there was reasonable ground for them being suspected of the crimes.

One of the main things that the judges emphasized was the fact that they participated in negotiation meetings that led to the purchase of the building from its owner, a process they handled in a way that was contrary to public tender laws.

In their appeal, the defendants had also questioned the primary court’s failure to consider the securities they presented to it in order to be granted bail.

However, in its ruling, the intermediate court rejected the securities because their value was lower than the losses estimated to have been caused by the government officials.

Of all the defendants, Rusizana is the one who presented high-value security – pieces of property worth over 4.3 billion Rwandan Francs.

However, this was also rejected by court, as judges said that he did not present evidence that these pieces of property were written in his names, or that he had not sold them or given them out as securities anywhere else.

hkuteesa@newtimesrwanda.com

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