POLICE in Muhima are holding three people suspected to have forged the stamp of the Ministry of Health as well as signature of the Minister, Dr. Richard Sezibera, to fleece money from several hospitals across the country.
Shem Nicayembizi, Bosco Ntakiyimana and Jean Marie Vianney Dusenge were arrested separately in Kigali, last Friday, after a tip-off from officials in one of the hospitals that had already fallen prey to the scheme.
It is alleged that the trio forged the minister’s signature and stamp and wrote an ‘official letter’ to heads of all hospitals in the country inviting them to a conference which they claimed was organized by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the International Project against HIV (IPAH).
According to a letter seen by The New Times, the conference which was supposed to be held on September 4, aimed at looking for better ways of fighting AIDS in the country. Furthermore, each hospital was required to contribute Rwf 1.2m for this initiative.
On the agenda of the conference, according to the letter, were Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT), Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission of HIV (PMTCT) and Antiretroviral drugs (ARV).
Police Spokesperson Supt. Eric Kayiranga who confirmed the arrests said that they received information from Dr. Jean Nyirinkwaya of La Croix du Sud Hospital, who had already presented his contribution and deposited it in a bank account in Bank of Kigali (BK) as directed in the letter.
“Nyirinkwaya called officials in the Ministry of Health informing them that he had already given his contribution, only to be informed that he had been conned,” Kayiranga said.
However, Nicayembizi, a shoe dealer in Kimisagara market, told The New Times that he was not aware of the move and that one Joseph Cyiza, another accomplice still on the run, called him and requested him to give them his bank account in BK so that the backers of their project could deposit money.
“He did not tell me what kind of project,” Nicayembizi said, adding that he only saw Cyiza together with some others writing a letter in French, a language he says he does not understand.
Nicayembizi, was arrested as he tried to withdraw some of the money. Rwf 2m had already been deposited on the account by the time of Nicayembizi’s arrest.
Another hospital, Polyclinique Harmonie, had made a partial contribution.
The three suspects who are yet to appear before court will be charged with three counts of counterfeit, attempt robbery and impersonation.