KIGALI - President Paul Kagame, yesterday, pardoned Alfred Kalisa, who has been serving a six- year-prison after he was found guilty of corruption and abuse of office.
Kalisa, committed the crime when he was the CEO and Board Chairman of the former Bank of Commerce, Development and Industry (BCDI), which has since been taken over by Ecobank.He was arrested in 2007.
Kalisa was accused of illegally advancing loans to himself and close family members totaling up to Rwf 800 million.
He was also accused of inflating the cost of constructing the bank’s headquarters.
Clad in a light blue T-shirt, matching trouser and black shoes, Kalisa walked out of Kigali Central Prison at 12 p.m.
He stopped at the gate of the prison, briefly talking to journalists before being driven to his home in Kiyovu, Nyarugenge District.
“I thank the President for exercising his prerogative of mercy and releasing me. I am very excited,” said the former banker, with a sigh of relief and excitement.
Asked how life had been in prison, Kalisa looked down before and said: “I need to rest first.”
Kalisa had served 3 and a half years out of the six years he was sentenced.
Commenting on the presidential pardon last evening, Justice Minister, Tharcisse Karugarama said Kalisa had asked for clemency from the President.
“Under article 111 of the Constitution, the President has the discretion to grant clemency or pardon to any person for whatever crime or sentence once the President is convinced that the convict’s apology is sincere,” said Karugarama who doubles as the Attorney General.
Who is Kalisa
He was a one time chairman of BCDI and the bank’s majority shareholder with 30 percent shares in the financial institution.
He was dropped from the chairmanship of the bank after it emerged that there was a conflict of interest between the management and a chain of businesses he owned in the country.
There were acts that amounted to insider trading that became a major concern to the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR).
Kalisa also worked as the vice-president of the African Round Table, and was one time Economic Adviser to the President.
He also held the position of president of the Private Sector Federation (PSF) and chairman of the Board of Directors of Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST).
Kalisa lived in the United States of America for several years where he worked as a banker. He returned to Rwanda in 1995 and together with other investors, set up BCDI.