Gakenke District will have to wait a little longer to recover funds stolen by its former employee after struggling to implement a court decision to attach the convict’s property.
The convict, Edouard Nizeyimana, was working as an accountant when he embezzled the funds.
By forging signatures of senior staff at the district, Nizeyimana managed to transfer close to Rwf 50 million in several installments.
Forensic laboratory discovered that he forged signatures of the then District Executive Secretary Richard Mberabagabo and the then Director of Finance Clemence Ugiribanga to process the payments.
He was arrested and in 2011 sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty in Musanze Intermediate Court.
Nizeyimana has since completed his sentence; however, he is still required to pay back the embezzled funds.
Rwanda has continually looked at the loopholes that enable corruption suspects to get away. And, among the moves to curb corruption, the government has adjusted numerous laws including ensuring that those convicted pay back what they stole in addition to serving their sentences.
Another law is lifting the expiration of corruption-related crimes before one has fully paid back.
The court gave the district a go-ahead to auction a residential home owned by the convict to help pay back.
In an exclusive interview with the mayor of Gakenke district, three years down the road, this has not been possible.
“We found that Nizeyimana and his wife had sought divorce and the house had ended in hands of the wife. Nizeyimana remained with nothing we could sell to get the funds back” Mayor Deogratias Nzamwita said.
The district then filed a case with Kacyiru Primary Court to stop the enforcement of the divorce ruling, arguing that the couple should first refund what the convict owed since the court decision was taken before the divorce proceedings.
“We sued the two for sharing the property without informing the court that they owed the district money that was stolen by Nizeyimana” the District Legal Officer Innocent Musoni told The New Times.
Nizeyimana and his wife lost the case and the couple was ordered to pay the district first before each of them takes their share in the divorce.
The two appealed the ruling in Gasabo Intermediate Court, reasoning that Nizeyimana alone will refund the district through his personal incomes.
A pre-trial hearing is due to take this week on Wednesday, February 13, 2019, at Gasabo Intermediate Court.