Charles Dickens says in his best seller, Great Expectations, whoever commits crime in life- no matter how long it takes, time comes and you get punished.
Certainly, such a scenario befits several government officials who had been put in charge of taxpayers’ money but decided to divert it for personal enrichment.
The list is long and includes former ministers and top civil servants who have been paraded before the courts of law this year. Others got sacked for corruption related crimes.
The battle on corruption gains momentum each year and no one seems to be untouchable.
In this year rounder, we bring you some of the big corruption cases and individuals paraded before the courts for swindling state resources.
The MINIFRA case
Urgably, this was the biggest case of the year. It sucked in over 10 people and at the end of day four including a minister were convicted and sent to jail.
They were sent to prison by Claudine Nyiramikenke, a tough lady judge who did not mince her words when it came to court proceedings.
However, eight officials were let-off the hook because prosecution could not provide enough evidence to sustain a case against them.
The MINIFRA case had two distinct embezzlement cases involving money swindled from construction of the Eastern province Headquarters and the Nayamata tarmac Road.
• Theoneste Mutsindashyaka
During his tenure as minister, Theoneste Mutsindashyaka, the former state Minister of primary and secondary school could have planed to spend the best moment of this Christmas with his family somewhere. But fate had other plans for him.
Mutsindashyaka was arraigned before Kacyiru Court for among other charges, flouting tendering rules in the construction of eastern province headquarters in 2007.
This case was a complicated. At first, prosecution had shown no particular interest to pursue Mutsindashyaka until the Judge intervened.
Judge Nyiramikenke ordered prosecution to produce Mutsindashyaka to court insisting he was party to the eastern province case. At the end of it all, the former minister was sentenced to one year jail term and fined Rfw 500000.
But before his file was closed, new charges came up. He was arrested shortly before Kacyiru verdict for allegedly concealing his foreign bank accounts from Ombudsman.
•Gatwabuyenge on two fronts
Gatwabuyege’s troubles this year worsened. He was a former permanent secretary in the ministry of infrastructure who was arrested for awarding a tender worth Rwf1.7billion illegally to the constructors of headquarters for Eastern province.
He was also found guilty for swindling funds in the construction of the Bugesera road.
Just a day after being sentenced by Gasabo Court to 3 years in prison for robbing the government, he received another 4 years for circumventing tendering rules.
Along with his group, they are supposed to pay Rwf 1.7 billion to government.
•Doing Business the wrong way
The eastern province case extended. The same court found Alexis Mugarura, owner of EMA and John Wilson Sekaziga who owned Intertech, a consultancy firm charged with monitoring construction work at the headquarters guilty in the same case of flouting tendering rules and were sentenced to four years imprisonment each.
• Off-the hook
Charles Kasana, the former Eastern Province Executive Secretary was acquitted of all charges together with Jean Habyarimana, Honore Munyanshongore, Yvonne Nyiramasengesho, Eliab Munyemana, Augutin Hategeka, Ishaka Habimana, Marie Claire Mukasine, Alex Karani Jean Marie Makombe.
• Janvier Murenzi
The youthful former director of finance at Urugwiro, Janvier Murenzi will also spend this Christmas under custody.
He accumulated unexplained wealth. In a space of four years, he was worth over Rwf500m according to prosecution.
He was convicted for illegal amassing of wealth and sentenced four years in prison and ordered to pay Rwf 1.1 billion to government.
• Kalisa Mupende
Also in the prison is Kalisa Mupende, a former Director General in the President’s office.
He was picked up with Capt. Hussein Musekera, a logistics officer in the same office.
Court charged them with embezzlement, abuse of procurement procedures and complicity in the crimes.
Their verdict will be passed January next year.
• Other cases
Dr. Louis Munyakazi
Dr. Munyakazi former Director General of the National Institute of Statistics (NIS) was arrested in connection to corruption mid this year.
Munyakazi was picked up by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on the orders of Prosecutor General, Martin Ngoga for embezzlement, abuse of office, misuse of public funds and corruption. He was later convicted and sentenced to one- year imprisonment.
Former State Minister for Environment, Water and Mines Prof. Munyanganizi Bikoro is in prison for evading taxes. He was jailed one-year term. On hearing his sentence, Bikoro laughed and said: “One year for committing no crime is such a long time.”
Kabandana was Director General of Rwanda Institute of Administration and Management (RIAM) a government’s training body also celebrates Christmas in jail for allegedly embezzling about Rwf 203 million.
He was arrested with Faustin Mugisha the director of finances (DAF) after an audit of Riam’s books revealed 203 million francs had disappeared unaccounted for.
Their fate hasn’t been decided yet.
This case involved some senior military officers accused of misusing resources from Horizon Company. The initial amount cited was Frw 700 million.
The case is still on-going. Evidently, as we move to 2010, the writing is on the wall. You misuse public funds, the punishment that awaits you is huge.