Former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD), Alex Kanyankole, appeared in court on Friday to answer charges of bribery while he was at the helm of the bank.
Kanyankole was BRD’s CEO from 2013 to 2017 during which period he is accused of having irregularly approved a loan of Rwf500 million to Good Harvest School and others that caused financial losses to the Bank.
Four witnesses, three of them employee of BRD and one anonymous are pinning Kanyankole.
A BRD staff who studied the project pins Kanyankole for having approved the loan to Good Harvest School in Kicukiro District, which did not have the capacity to service it.
Kanyankole’s defence team argued that the Bank has clear procedures and structure of approving loans, which involves a committee and the board, saying that it is not a duty of one person.
Kanyankole’s lawyers also argued that since BRD is a development bank, there was no crime in lending money to a school, which is development project.
Prosecution reminded the court that Amos Sindambiwe, a staff at BRD, had explained that they went to the ground to study the project and found that it was not viable but Kanyankole went ahead and funded it.
Another witness, Florida Mukandoli, who was also responsible for scrutinising loan applications had gone for a short holiday “only to come back and find the file stolen from her office and the project already funded”, prosecution said.
Witnesses had alleged that Kanyankole had meetings with loan applicants in hotels and bars in Kigali where they would bribe him to facilitate their loan.
Kanyankole accepted having met them but denied having been bribed and that they were only discussing business connected to work.
“There is not even a piece of single evidence whether a bank instrument or anything that shows Kanyankole received a bribe” his lawyers said.
Prosecution dismissed argument saying that “there is no law that spells that bribes must be a specific amount of money”
Kanyankole’s lawyers say that the reason their client is accused of the Rwf500 million loan to Good Harvest School is because he endorsed the change of the leadership at the school.
“Kanyankole supported the replacement of change of ineffective leadership which could not service the debt. The leadership at stake fabricated crimes against Kanyankole as revenge,” lawyers said.
Prosecution revealed other crimes that would be levelled against the accused in the next hearing.
The crimes include lending about Rwf13 billion to Trust Industries and Top Services companies.
Prosecution allege Kanyankole used his position at BRD to lend the large sum of money to the companies.
Kanyankole was arrested early October 2018 and charged with favouritism and soliciting for and receiving illegal benefits in order to offer a service.
The next hearing is scheduled on 19 April 2019.