The Prosecutor has filed more charges against businessman Alfred Nkubiri, one of the agri-business magnates in the country.
Nkubiri and a member of his staff, Innocent Harerimana, appeared on Monday before Kacyiru Primary Court where they are jointly charged with uttering forged documents.
The businessman had been put on remand by the same court on separate charges of breach of contract for fear that he might tamper with evidence and was a flight risk.
It all started with a contract he entered into with the Ministry of Agriculture to supply 730 metric tonnes of fertiliser, which was supposed to be used by farmers countrywide during the 2016 planting season B.
According to the contract, he was supposed to have supplied the fertilisers to agro-dealers before the end of June. But prosecution alleges that Nkubiri never delivered in time and when he did, the product was not in the agreed quantities and was substandard.
Accused trashes charges
When Nkubiri reappeared in court together with his co-accused, Harerimana, over the fresh charges, the prosecutor said there were no legal provisions preventing prosecution from preferring new charges.
“We are praying court to remand the suspects for 30 days as investigations continue, since there are risks of tampering with evidence or fleeing the country,” said the prosecutor.
In his defence, Nkubiri, who was clad in the pink prison uniform, said he could not respond to the new charges since he had not been previously questioned about them.
“I was only made aware of the new charges while in prison; I had requested for more time because I was feeling unwell and needed a lawyer to look into the charge. But the next thing I knew, I was being told to come to court,” he told the court.
Nkubiri was in company of three lawyers.
“This is a serious breach of criminal procedure. How can you drag a person to court who is unaware of his charges? Article 21 of the code for criminal procedure lays out in detail how investigations are conducted before a case is brought before court. We want a written submission by prosecution attesting to the fact that they followed the law to the letter before we can proceed,” said Fidel Gashabana, one of the defence lawyers.
Gashabana urged the court not to receive the lawsuit and or even deliberate on whether or not to remand his client, saying “he is already on remand.”
The judge said she would take into consideration the objections by the defence during her deliberations and this would inform her decision on whether to remand the duo on the new charge.
The court is expected to pronounce itself on the matter today.