The genocidal regime used different methods to draw money from state coffers to procure weapons that were used to kill over a million people in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
This was said on Friday by Dr. Jean Damascene Bizimana, the Executive Secretary of the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG), during a memorial ceremony for 104 former employees of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning.
He said that officials in the ministry worked in cohorts with senior officers at the Ministry of Defence and the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR) to siphon state money to fund the genocidal machine.
Bizimana explained that before the Genocide, businessman Marc Rugenera was appointed minister of finance but because he was not privy to the Genocide plans, the masterminds knew he would not release money to purchase the weapons they needed.
“They worked out a plan to leave him out of the loop by appointing someone at the Ministry of Defence through which requisitions for arms were processed and went directly to BNR without Rugenera’s knowledge,” Bizimana said.
Rugenera, who also served in the same portfolio after the Genocide, is currently a businessman operating an insurance company in Kigali.
According to Bizimana, the fact that all these plans were in place way before April 1994 shows that the Genocide was planned way before the shooting down of the plane that carried former president Juvenal Habyarimana on April 6.
He said that after an arms embargo was imposed on Rwanda following the signing of the Arusha Peace Accords, the extremists in the three institutions mentioned above worked out another plan of getting money to arms dealers in Europe and elsewhere.
“They used embassies where they would send money under the guise of funding their operations and these would in turn wire the money to the arms dealers,” he said.
According to him, the embassies that were mostly used were in Paris, Kinshasa, Cairo and Nairobi.
“An example is that between April 20 and 25 1994, the Rwandan embassy in Cairo issued cheques worth $4,126,310, an unusual expenditure for an establishment like that. Besides, the money was traced to someone in South Africa which makes you wonder what kind of service someone in South Africa offered to an establishment in Egypt,” he said.
Concerning the machetes that were used during the Genocide, Bizimana said that these were bought by two people; notorious businessman Felicien Kabuga and Seraphin Rwabukumba, a close relative to former First Lady Agatha Kanziga.
Between January 1993 and March 1994 the duo, through a local company called Rwandex, bought over 580 tonnes of pangas and the money came directly from Kabuga.
Other machetes were procured from another company in England, he said.
Known as the Financier of the Genocide, Kabuga is on the run having been indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).
At the commemoration event, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Claver Gatete, thanked those who had taken time to attend the function and specifically paid tribute to the RPF troops who put a stop to the Genocide.
“For us meeting here each year is a sign of giving respect and honor to the former MINACOFIN empoloyees who were killed during the Genocide,” he said.
He called on everyone present to play their respective role to ensure the Genocide ideology is uprooted.
Also present at the commemoration were family members of the former workers that were killed and the ministry’s staff, among others.