Prosecution has asked the high court in Kigali to cancel bail granted to former Mining Minister, Evode Imena.
Imena and two former officials in the Ministry of Natural Resources, Francis Kayumba and Jacques Kagabo, are accused of masterminding a shoddy deal in which a company was unlawfully given a mining license only to be sold to another firm for $20,000.
On February 20, the former minister was given bail by Nyarugenge Intermediate Court, despite prosecution’s objections.
But last Friday prosecution told the high court that the lower court disregarded serious grounds in granting Imena bail.
The prosecution also claimed it had new evidence implicating Imena.
According to prosecutor, Faustin Mukunzi, a mining company ‘JDJ General Business ltd’, whose owners were spouses of both Kagabo and Kayumba was fraudulently created and illegally given a concession license with the support of Imena.
The prosecution further argued that in the process of granting the license, the minister was fully aware the company belonged to his subordinates’ wives which amount to favouritism.
The minister is also alleged to have approved a ‘transfer of ownership’ of the JDJ ltd Company after it was sold to another company belonging to their relatives.
“Even after he was advised against by Michael Biryabarema, director of geology in the dissolved Rwanda Natural Resources Authority, Evode Imena went ahead and confirmed the transfer,” Mukunzi told court.
Court also heard that Imena using his capacity denied license to Nyaruguru Mining Company and granted it to Mwashamba Mining Ltd.
This, the prosecution argued was against the decision of the Rwanda Natural Resources Authority board/unit in charge of registration and licensing of mining concessions.
“We contend that the lower court took wrong decision; especially where it argued that such allegations did not constitute serious grounds. Basing on provisions of criminal procedures we think this court can re-examine our plea and remand Evode Imena again,” Mukunzi prayed court.
However, the former minister maintained he was innocent, adding that his bail application was granted on clear grounds and asked the high court to uphold it.
“Personally, I have not forged any document to grant whoever any licenses, there were procedures to follow in my capacity, then, I did nothing but observed them accordingly,” he said.
The accused said he was not aware ‘JDJ Ltd’ company belonged to Jovia Kamatenesi and Diana Umutoni, wives of his co-accused.
He also dismissed as baseless prosecution claims of ‘abuse of office’ by granting a transfer of ownership from ‘JDJ Ltd’ to another company, arguing it was within his powers.
“Transfer of documents of an acquisition that has legally taken place was not wrong whatsoever, it would have been better if the prosecution showed that I had no power to approve a transfer,” he said.
Imena equally dismissed favoritism allegations as baseless.
Meanwhile on the same day Kagabo and Kayumba petitioned the same court over denied bail.
The duo argued that they were detained unfairly as prosecution allegations did not implicate them directly on charges of illegal issuance of documents, usage of counterfeited documents and favouritism.
Court will pronounce itself on the matter tomorrow.Follow https://twitter.com/Rodra02