KACYIRU - The case against former State Minister for Education, Théoneste Mutsindashyaka, yesterday took a dramatic twist when he admitted that he made an error in a Rwf 1.7 billion tender for constructing the Eastern province headquarters.
Mutsindashyaka told Kacyiru Court that his Secretary had misled him in the letter he wrote to Enterprise Alexis Mugarura (EMA).
On March 10, 2007 Mutsindashyaka informed the construction firm in writing that it had won Rwf 1.7 bn tender, contrary to regulations that only empower Rwanda Public Procurement Authority (RPPA) to announce the winner.
This leaking of the information aroused suspicions that the former governor could have had hidden interests, according to prosecution.
Court yesterday questioned Mutsindashyaka as to why he wrote the March 10, 2007 letter to EMA. In his response, the former state minister for primary and secondary education said he was misled.
“It was not intended, but my Secretary misled me on the date. She wrote March 10 instead of April 10,” Mutsindashyaka stated.
The Rwf 1.7bn tender awarded in 2007 was to construct a complex to house offices of the Eastern Province, but the prosecution claims the tender did not follow the normal channels.
The information from court indicates that RPPA authorities wrote to Mutsindashyaka on April 5 informing him that EMA had emerged the best candidate.
His lawyer Beatrice Umubyeyi stressed that it was an oversight since in life human beings are bound to commit mistakes.
But there was of silence when Judge Claudine Nyiramikenke asked Mutsindashyaka to name the secretary who had misled him.
Mutsindashyaka turned his head up and tried to remember but the name of his secretary was not coming up. It was his co- accused, Jean Vianney Makombe who came to his rescue and named the secretary.
“We are shocked that you cannot even remember your secretary,” Judge Nyiramikenke said.
On why he had signed a contract with EMA yet it was the work of the then Executive Secretary, Mutsindashyaka responded that he was not aware that the law regulating tenders had changed.
Mutsindashyaka signed the contract four days after the law on tendering had been gazetted.
“I had not seen the law, but everything I did was done in the interest of the country,” he told the courtroom.
Mutsindashyaka is in court because the prosecution says he is party to the case involving former provincial official Charles Kasana and Vincent Gatwabuyenge who served as the Permanent Secretary, in the Ministry of Infrastructure.
Gatwabuyege and Kasana are charged with awarding EMA Rwf 1.7billion without following standing procedures.
He is in court together with the permanent secretary, in the Ministry of infrastructure Marie Claire Mukasine, her assistant Alexis Karani and Jean Vianney Makombe.
The prosecution said they had no intention to prosecute Mukasine, Karani and Makombe because there’s no evidence to sustain a case against them.
The Judge is yet to rule on this issue. The trial continues.