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MP bribed me, judge confesses

A Gacaca court judge has confessed taking a bribe from MP Elise Bisengimana to clear him of his alleged involvement in the 1994 Genocide.

A Gacaca court judge has confessed taking a bribe from MP Elise Bisengimana to clear him of his alleged involvement in the 1994 Genocide.Faustin Mbonigaba, the president of Gihundwe Gacaca court in Rusizi District, Western Province, admitted last week that he took a bribe of Frw 2.5 million from Bisengimana.

Mbonigama made the shocking revelation after being arrested in another corruption case.“I got Frw 2,500,000 from MP Bisengimana to clear him. I used the money to bribe some witnesses whom I thought had true information about the MP,” Mbonigaba confessed. “He (Bisengimana) promised that he would also give me more Frw three million,” Mbonigaba added.

Mbonigaba had been arrested receiving a bribe of Frw170, 000 from Silas Nsanzurwimo, another Genocide suspect.

Months back, Bisengimana appeared before Gihundwe Gacaca court on allegations of having participated in the mass killings at Kamembe stadium.

He was also accused of having attended several meetings that planned Genocide. Bisengimana, an RPF legislator in the Chamber of Deputies, was later acquitted after the Gacaca court dismissed the allegations levelled against him.

Mbonigaba confessed further that he had been using his position in Gacaca to extort money from Genocide accomplices.

“I have been getting money from Genocide suspects using my powers as a judge,” Mbinigaba confessed.

Nsanzurwimo who is also in detention on corruption charges at Kamembe Police Station confirmed that he had wanted to bribe Mbonigaba to get acquitted.

However, Bisengimana refuted Mbonigaba’s confessions saying that they are baseless and lack evidence.

“I can’t give a detailed comment on that issue. I can only tell you that those are baseless allegations that I don’t consider,” Bisengimana said   

He added that the allegations were not new to him.

During the trial, Bisengimana denied any involvement in Genocide and claimed he is himself a victim of the tragedy.

However, witnesses and other Genocide survivors said he had a hand in the 100-day killings.

Ibuka, an umbrella of Genocide survivors, filed an appeal after Bisengimana was acquitted and the Gacaca Appeal Court of Gihundwe is expected to hear the appeal today, August 30.

While Bisengimana dismisses corruption allegations levelled against him, the Executive Secretary for Gacaca Jurisdiction, Domitila Mukantaganzwa, said that the MP has a case.“We have asked the police authorities in the Western Province to investigate those allegations and we’re waiting for a report,” Mukantaganzwa said.

She also said that Bisengimana’s case was characterised with a lot of contradicting information from witnesses, which could have led to his acquittal.

“We have information that Genocide survivors used to hold meetings plotting how they can pin down Bisengimana and this is totally unacceptable,” Mukantaganza saidShe added that this might have resulted into false allegations including those of corruption.

Bisegimana is one of the four MPs accused of having participated in the Genocide. Others are Speaker Alfred Mukezamfura, Col (rtd) Edourd Sebushumba and Emmanuel Mwumvaneza.

For the last two years, the Chamber of Deputies has been marred with accusations of Genocide against some members. Some MPs resigned after they failed to contain the pressure, and have been aligned before Gacaca courts to answer Genocide charges.Ends

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