GASABO - The former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Infrastructure, Vincent Gatwabuyege, was yesterday sentenced to three years in prison for embezzling state funds.
The high profile case in Gasabo Intermediate Court involved six senior government officials.
The court presided over by Judge Maurice Mbishibishi, acquitted the former head of the Central Public Investment and External Finance Bureau (CEPEX), George Katurebe.
The group of six faced charges related to abuse of state funds and exonerating fines to STRABAG, a Germany Road construction company which had been contracted to build the Kigali-Bugesera road.
“This court finds George Katurebe not guilty and thereby orders for his immediate release,” presiding judge Mbishibishi read from the verdict.
All his accomplices were found guilty and subsequently sentenced to different jail terms ranging between two and six years.
The accomplices included former MININFRA Permanent Secretary Vincent Gatwabuyege, Faustin Gacinya, Eliab Munyemana, Jean Bosco Habyarimana and Jean Ngarambe.
Gatwabuyege and Munyemana were convicted for embezzling state funds and handed a three-year sentence each.
They were also found guilty of exonerating STRABAG fines that it should have paid to government for breach of contract.
Gacinya, a former Director of Finance in the ministry, was sentenced to two years after finding him guilty of abusing state funds and having been an accomplice in exoneration of the fines.
Habyarimana and Ngarambe were handed the highest punishment of six years in prison for forging documents and embezzling funds.
The verdict was read in the absence of Gatwabuyege, Katurebe and Gacinya.
The convicts were also ordered to pay a fine of Rwf 1.172bn, an amount double what government had lost.
Meanwhile, the verdict was passed a day before Kacyiru Primary Court renders a final decision in another case in which Gatwabuyege is also implicated.
In the “Eastern Province trial”, Gatwabuyege is accused of complicity in flouting procedures in the awarding of the multi-million tender to construct the headquarters of the province.
He is jointly accused with former State Minister in charge of Primary and Secondary Education, Theoneste Mutsindashyaka, and the former Executive Secretary of the Province, Charles Kasana.