KIGALI - The High Court yesterday adjourned the case involving city businessman Barry Ndengeyingoma a.k.a Ndengeye to tomorrow after it emerged that court did not have his dossier.
Ndengeye’s case was taken to High Court by Prosecution contesting an earlier ruling by the Gasabo Court of Higher Instance which released the businessman on grounds that he had no case to answer in Rwanda.
“There is no way we can conduct the trial because until now we do not have the file before us, we have to first get it and internalise it before the trial starts,” Pie Mugabo, who presided over the three-man quorum, said.
However, Bonaventure Ruberwa who represented Prosecution prayed court to set a nearer date because of the emergency of the case, which prompted the quorum to adjourn it to Wednesday (tomorrow). During the session which lasted less than 30 minutes, neither Ndengeye nor any of his lawyers was present.
His lawyers are John Bosco Kazungu and Mbaga Tuzinde Mbonyimbuga.
When contacted, Mbaga said that legal constraints made it impossible for both lawyers to appear on their client’s behalf.
According to Mbaga, Ndengeye is currently in Belgium where he went to sort out the charges for which he was convicted in absentia to three years of imprisonment.
“The law here (in Rwanda) states that no one can represent anybody in a criminal procedure in absentia, what the lawyer does is providing legal assistance but the defendant has to be there in person to justify the presence of a lawyer,” Mbaga explained.
He however said that he would make further consultations to see if there are any legal provisions allowing him to stand in for his client so that he can be part of the tomorrow’s proceedings.
He said that even the case has lost relevance since Ndengeye produced himself before the Belgian court.
“The matter before court (High Court) is studying the concern raised by prosecution that Ndengeye will flee from Belgian justice…now what is the relevance of this proceeding after he has produced himself before the Belgian court?” Mbaga asked.
Ndengeye who is best known for his expensive fleet of cars, which include a limousine and Hummer, was arrested on December 10 following an Interpol red notice on three charges that include money laundering.
He was released on New Year’s Eve by magistrate Valens Nkurunziza of the Gasabo Higher Instance Court.
During the brief High Court hearing, Ruberwa said that releasing Ndengeye was a violation of the Interpol statute and several international convections to which Rwanda is signatory.