Former REB bosses Gasana, Rutayisire sent back on remand

Former REB bosses John Rutayisire (left) and Janvier Ismael Gasana (right) have been remanded again. File.

Gasabo Intermediate Court on Friday remanded former directors general of Rwanda Education Board (REB), John Rutayisire and Janvier Ismael Gasana, just weeks after they had been granted bail by a lower court.

Also sent on remand are Ali Harelimana and Rutaha Bagaya, both former directors of finance and administration at the board.

The other co-accused, Juvenal Rusatsi Ngemanyi, the budget officer at the same institution, was kept on bail.

The five are being investigated for different crimes related to complicity in embezzlement and mismanagement of public funds.

“Court finds there are very serious incriminating evidence against the four and remands them for 30 days as requested by prosecution to allow investigations to continue,” ruled judge Immaculee Uwera.

Prosecution had filed an appeal against the ruling granting them bail providing a number of reasons, including the ability by the suspects to tamper with evidence.

During the hearing of the appeal, both Rutayisire and Gasana had requested that court upholds the decision of the lower court saying that they were sick and needed constant medical attention.

However, in her ruling, Uwera said that the fact that they are sick does not alone warrant their release on bail, adding that they could still get medical attention even while in custody.

Rutayisire was REB boss from July 2011 through February 2015 when he handed over to Gasana who occupied the office up to February 2018.

On the other hand, Bagaya was the Director of Finance at the same institution from 2011-2015 until Harelimana took over up to 2016.

Prosecution submitted that Rutayisire, during his tenure, released unjustifiably up to Rwf184,500,000  for One Laptop per Child programme.

The programme is aimed at distributing specially tailored laptops to primary schools across the country.

Prosecution also dwelt on agreements which REB (then led by Gasana) entered with ECMN Ltd, a local company, to provide warehouse services for 150,000 laptops under the programme.

Prosecution referred to the Auditor General’s reports, which faulted the institution for renting storage of 150,000 laptops at an exorbitant Rwf16,389,200 a month.

It was also discovered that REB paid for insurance of the 150,000 laptops alleged to be in store while in actual sense, there were 50,000 pieces.

The Auditor General’s report indicated the contract was wrongfully made and caused unnecessary spending of taxpayers’ money.

Prosecution added that, despite the huge sums of money for renting the warehouse and depriving students (beneficiaries of the laptops), the warehouse was only utilised at only 10 per cent.

Gasana had earlier taken the blame on himself, saying that it was “negligence” on his part to release money without scrutinising if it was being justifiably spent.