The Nyarugenge Primary Court on Friday acquitted the former CEO of the Water and Sanitation Corporation (WASAC), James Sano and ordered for his immediate release.
Speaking to The New Times, his lawyer, Christophe Niyomugabo said that he received the ruling through the Integrated Electronic Case Management System (IECMS), a digital way of handling cases because he was not court.
“Yes. My client was acquitted by the Nyarugenge primary court. The court ruled that evidence presented by prosecution were insufficient to pin Sano on the crime of misuse of public property,” Niyomugabo said.
He added that justice was served as court in passing the judgment, considered Article 165 of the code of criminal procedure where any sort of doubt on evidence produced favours the accused.
“The benefit of doubt shall be given in favour of the accused. If the proceedings conducted as completely as possible do not enable judges to find reliable evidence proving beyond reasonable doubt that the accused committed the offence, the judges shall order his/her acquittal,” reads the article.
Sano was early September arrested by Police as part of investigations into different illegalities related to awarding public tenders and mismanagement of public resources.
Prosecution also pinned Sano on unnecessary spending on rent for the current headquarters of the utility near Remera along Airport Road, saying the decision was unjustified since the water utility had moved from a facility it owned into a rental.
The new premises is rented at Rwf26 million per month. When they occupied the new offices late last year, WASAC paid Rwf945.5 million for a three-year rental, according to prosecution.
In defence during an earlier preceding, Sano had insisted that all decisions were made by the company’s board of directors, adding that he never took any unilateral decision.
He also justified the move to the new premises, saying the old premises in downtown Kigali were smaller and could not accommodate all staff.
It’s important to note that the former managing director of Energy Development Corporation Ltd (EDCL) Emmanuel Kamanzi who is on remand and had previously appeared alongside Sano though on separate charges, did not appear in court Friday.
Kamanzi is also accused of misusing public funds, where he was pinned on authorising the purchase of electric poles and transformers, which turned out to be defective.