Rubavu Intermediate Court is today set to rule on a bail application filed by former Rubavu district mayor Sheikh Hassan Bahame, who faces corruption charges.
Appearing before the court on Tuesday, the former mayor rejected the bribery charges. He was arrested on March 22 together with the former district notary Judith Kayitesi.
They are accused of receiving a Rwf4 million bribe from a building contractor in order to fast-track the issuance of a land title.
According to Police, they allegedly received the money from the contractor, identified as Adrienne Mukamitari.
Bahame denied the allegations, telling the Rubavu Intermediate Court that the charges against him were meant to tarnish his image.
“She (Judith Kayitesi) was arrested in her office in the district headquarters with the money. If we were collaborating, why didn’t she tell them to arrest me as well,” he asked.
Kayitesi, on the other hand, pleaded guilty to the charges but maintained that she was acting on the directive of the former mayor who allegedly tasked her to meet the contractor and finalise the “deal”.
The duo requested to be granted bail, a request that Prosecution asked the judge to ignore.
The judge is due to rule on this today.
Bribery on conviction attracts a jail term of between five and seven years and a fine ranging from double to ten times the amount of the bribe received under Article 641 of the Penal Code.
In a related development, following the arrest of the two suspects, the Rubavu District Council ordered the resignation of the entire district executive committee on the grounds that they were not executing their tasks as expected and that they had failed to challenge the mayor on matters related to the alleged corruption.
Ezechiel Buntu, the vice-mayor in charge of Economic Affairs; Rachel Rusine Nyirasafari, in charge of social affairs; and Christopher Kalisa, who was the district’s executive secretary, were all forced to resign last week.
Currently, the district is provisionally led by Marie Jeane Kaduhoze. Elected last week, Kadukuze was the secretary of advisory council and head teacher at Inyemeramihigo College.