RUHANGO – Two pastors of the Association of Pentecostal Churches in Rwanda (ADEPR) on Tuesday appeared before the Byimana Lower Court to answer charges of embezzling church project funds.
The former Mukingi Church pastors, Jean Marie Vianney Kalisa and Landouard Nturushwa along with eight other members of the church parents’ committee are accused of embezzling over Rwf3.2 million meant for an education project.
Others accused include a former accountant, Evode Habimana, and those on the project parents committee - Drocelle Mukantabana, Savronie Mukakayonga, Marceline Uwimana, Alexis Nsengumuremyi, Séraphin Kasamira, François Xavier Nsabimana and Ernestine Abizeyemungu.
Prosecution alleges that pastor Kalisa misappropriated the funds meant for classroom construction. He also allegedly forced parents to contribute to the construction of classrooms, which, according to prosecution, was illegal and should be punishable.
Pastor Kalisa pleaded not guilty; arguing that the audit report indicating the money was missing was fabricated. He added that there were discrepancies in the audit reports.
“ I accounted for all the money which was spent… before any additional funds was paid out for the project activities,” Kalisa said. “…All receipts were submitted.”
On the second charge sheet, Kalisa’s co-accused, while rejecting the charges, argued that the money received from parents was agreed upon by parents as part of their contribution to the education needs of their children.
Prosecution said that the project funds were budgeted for all agreed project activities which meant that parents were not obligated to make a contribution.
Testimonies from Mukingi parents however, revealed that they were not forced to contribute towards classroom construction. Some of the parents who spoke to this writer felt that it was their obligation to play a major role in expanding the school’s classrooms due to the increasing school enrolment.
“Our children needed to go to school and we had to be part of the cause. The classrooms have been constructed and our children are already using them,” one parent said.
The case hearing continues on August 4.