KACYIRU - Kacyiru Court of Lower Instance has directed that former State Minister, for Primary and Secondary Education, Théoneste Mutsindashyaka, be produced in court to explain his alleged role in a tender scam that rocked the Eastern Province.
The directive by the Kacyiru Court President, Claudine Nyiramikenke, essentially deals a big blow to the prosecution who had earlier maintained that Mutsindashyaka had nothing to answer in court.
Mutsindasyaka, is being summoned in his capacity as former Governor of the Eastern Province, under whose term the tender was awarded.
According to a charge sheet submitted in court on July 23, by the prosecution, Mutsindashyaka, is suspected to have informed a construction firm that it had won a tender a month before the Rwanda Public Procurement Authority (RPPA) pronounced the winner. The construction firm in question is Mugarura Alexis (EMA).
However, on August 11, this year, Rose Mukantagengwa, a prosecutor at Kacyiru Court wrote to Nyiramikenke, saying prosecution did not have enough evidence to arraign Mutsindashyaka before the court.
According to Mukantagengwa’s letter, a copy of which The NewTimes has obtained, the court had been requested only to deal with the cases already lined up and ignore Mutsindashyaka’s involvement.
According to Nyiramikenke, Mutsindashyaka must appear in court since he is party to the case involving former provincial official Charles Gasana and Vincent Gatwabuyenge who served as the Permanent Secretary, in the Ministry of Infrastructure.
Gatwabuyege and Gasana are also charged with awarding the construction firm, a tender to build the provincial headquarters without following normal procedures.
Mutsindashyaka is to appear in court together with infrastructure permanent secretary, Marie Claire Mukasine, her assistant Alexis Karani and Jean Vianney Makombe, then a tender committee member in Eastern Province.
According to Nyiramikenke, prosecution had earlier interrogated Mutsindashyaka on June, 11 2009 as a suspect.
The court heard yesterday that Mutsindashyaka was quizzed by prosecution on why he signed a contract with EMA yet it was the work of the then Executive Secretary, Charles Gasana.
It also emerged that Mutsindashyaka wrote several letters to the Ministry of Infrastructure, requesting it to speed up the payments.
During the interrogation, Mutsindashyaka reportedly accepted that he had after consulting law books, discovered he had, “usurped the powers of the then executive Secretary.”
On the part of Mukasine, she reportedly told the prosecution that she endorsed the payments because she had believed that technical officials in the ministry had monitored activities done on the ground.
“Basing on the request by suspects here and their defence lawyers, this court finds it sensible to summon Mutsindashyaka, Mukasine, Makombe and Karani to appear in court on August 27,” Nyiramikenke ordered.
The judge stressed that the status of the persons summoned shouldn’t be an issue, saying that the law should not be applied selectively Mutsindashyaka allegedly informed EMA Company on March 10, 2007 by-passing the procurement authority. The RPPA declared EMA winner on April 5, 2007.
The firm had submitted its tender to build the provincial head-quarters in Rwamagana in 2007. Mukasine allegedly approved money for EMA even after the company had been named in the scandal.
According to prosecution, Mugarura won a tender with a bid of Rwf1.7bn but he continued asking for additional money that amounted almost to 100 percent of the total cost and he knew well that he could not solicit money beyond 20 percent.
The controversial tender has landed many government officials go to jail.