Former district official appears in court

KARONGI - The former Karongi district vice Mayor in charge of Economic Development, Jean Baptiste Hakizimana, yesterday, appeared before Karongi Intermediate Court for the trial in which he is accused of swindling government funds.
TESTIFIED: Former Western Province Governor Penelope Kantarama.
TESTIFIED: Former Western Province Governor Penelope Kantarama.

KARONGI - The former Karongi district vice Mayor in charge of Economic Development, Jean Baptiste Hakizimana, yesterday, appeared before Karongi Intermediate Court for the trial in which he is accused of swindling government funds.

Court presided over by judge, Adolphe Udahemuka, heard that Hakizimana in 2006 unlawfully obtained Rwf100,000 from the former Governor of western province, Penelope Kantarama, for renovating the house she lived in.

Kantarama, who is now the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Internal Security, was renting the said house from the district. Kantarama appeared in court yesterday as defence witness.

Hakizimana is jointly accused with Jean Bosco Bagaragaza of forging a receipt in 2009 to justify expenditures.

The two co-accused were however, not allowed to defend themselves because they arrived late after court had heard testimony from Kantarama.

Speaking before a fully packed courtroom, Kantarama confessed to having paid Rwf100,000 to Hakizimana.

“Part of my house needed to be repaired and when I requested the district to do so, Hakizimana asked me to first pay that amount of money which I did and obtained a receipt,” she said.

She explained that she did not find it necessary to write an official letter to the district authorities requesting for the renovation of the house.

Prosecution led by Joshua Nyiringango, asked for a 15-year jail term for Hakizimana and 7years for Bagaragaza, the man who reportedly renovated the house in question.

The district wants the accused to pay a total of Rwf3.1m in damages.

The presiding judge adjourned the hearing to July15.

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