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Ex-Minister Gahakwa remanded for 30 days

The Gasabo Primary Court on Tuesday, October 20, remanded former cabinet Minister Daphrose Gahakwa for 30 days to allow prosecution to do further investigations before her substantive trial can begin.

Gahakwa faces charges of misuse of public resources and abuse of office by fraudulently awarding a tender during her time as head of Rwanda Agriculture Board.  

 

Gahakwa also served in cabinet as State Minister for Agriculture and later education minister.

 

The court decided to remand her after the prosecution last week pinned her on fraudulently awarding a tender whereby, on June 8, 2016, she approved an Rwf800 million irrigation tender to her son-in-law, Edouard Kamugisha.

 

Meanwhile, Gahakwa’s husband, Pierre Rudakemwa Gahakwa, was among the lead consultants hired by Kamugisha to supervise the implementation of the irrigation project.  

The prosecution said that she signed this tender at a time when the institution was struggling financially.

At the time, Gahakwa explained that the procurement department put the tender up for bidding before she assumed office and that she signed it without knowledge that it was her son-in-law who won the tender.

She added that her office even consulted the Ministry of Justice before the tender was approved.

She also denied having any role in the hiring process of her husband to supervise the implementation of the project.

On charges of misusing public property when Gahakwa diverted RAB’s irrigation machine to irrigate her farm located in Gashora Sector, Bugesera District, the courts says there are strong reasons to suspect her given that the machine remained at her farm until 2017 when investigations one her case started.

As a result, the prosecution suggested she be remanded to prevent her from either subvert investigation or even flee from justice.

Gahakwa said that the machine was deployed to irrigate farmers’ crops in the area in which her farm is located and that she never requested anyone to take the machine to her farm.

Her lawyer said that Gahakwa should be released on bail on the account that she had a medical condition, and that she was not a flight risk, given that she had known about this investigation for three years and had remained available to investigative authorities.

During the ruling, which was pronounced in Gahakwa’s absence, the judge rejected her request and decided to remand her for 30 days saying that her arguments were not convincing.

“She [Gahakwa] did not submit any medical documents supporting her plea that she is diabetic. And, though she was ready to post bond, she did not submit any proposal to see whether it corresponds to the gravity of the charges she faces, for the court to approve or reject her bail application,” the judge ruled.

Gahakwa was among four senior officials who were suspended from office by the Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente in April 2018, after issues of wasteful spending and flawed procurement procedures were unearthed in the institution.

The four officials have been on suspension to give way for investigations.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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