KIGALI - The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) yesterday confirmed it is investigating Paul Rusesabagina on suspicion financing subversive activities.
In a case linked to that of Victoire Umuhoza Ingabire, who was arrested on Wednesday over the same charges, a close source in the CID revealed to The New Times that the police is armed with evidence that the exiled politician has been financing rebel activities in the region.
Information available indicates that Rusesabagina, through Western Union money transfer, sent funds to two men, then top commanders of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) with an aim of recruiting new fighters for a new terrorist organization known as Coalition of Democratic forces (CDF) which would then be a military wing of the FDU-Inkingi.
Police Spokesperson Supt. Eric Kayiranga, yesterday confirmed that the CID is indeed investigating Rusesabagina and that evidence was available that he has been financing rebel activities.
“Yes, we have evidence that he has on several occasions financed FDLR by sending money to its commanders. We are finalising plans to summon him. Whether he comes or not, the process will go on. This case is connected to the ongoing case against for FDLR commanders and Victoire Ingabire currently in detention,” Kayiranga said.
According to sources, on September 22, 2009, Rusesabagina on two occasions sent funds to a one Lambert Mbanga Mbanza through Western Union in San Antonio, Texas in the United States. Mbanza received the money through the Commercial Bank of Burundi (BCB).
The money transfer forms seen by The New Times indicate that Rusesabagina used a test question “Qui Suis-je” to which the answer was “Mayele” on the first transfer and on the second occasion, Rusesabagina used the same test question but with a different answer “Mirindi”.
It has since been established that Lambert Mbanga Mbanza is Lt. Col Noel Habiyambere, and Murinde is Lt. Col Tharcisse Nditurende both former top commanders with the FDLR who are currently charged alongside Ingabire for planning activities aimed at causing state insecurity.
Information also indicates that the same Mbanza and another person know as Ali Hatari Murinde received unspecified amount money from Rusesabagina through a person known ase Innocent Minani which they received from Dar-es-Salaam as they conducted regional manoeuvres to recruit for the new rebel group.
Nditurende who was travelling under the alias of Murinde also received money in the Tanzanian capital on two occasions in September 2009, all from Rusesabagina.
According to the Prosecution Spokesman, Augustin Nkusi, the government has already informed the US Government about Rusesebagina’s case because it is where the money was sent from, and that his case is as big as that of other FDLR top commanders.
“Yes, we have very credible evidence showing his connection with FDLR elements and being involved in the financing of their operations. He is implicated by the commanders from whom testimonies leading to more documentary evidence were obtained,”
“We communicated this to the American authorities as well because that’s where the financing originated. This case is not different from other cases involving FDLR leaders Ignace Murwanashyaka and Straton Musoni in Germany, and lately, Callixte Mbarushimana,” Nkusi said.
Habiyambere and Nditurehe were arrested in Burundi last year and handed over to Rwanda.
Earlier this year when they appeared in court, Nditurende and Hitiyaremye revealed how, prior to their arrest in Bujumbura, were mobilising FDLR fighters to quit and join Ingabire’s FDU-Inkingi/CDF and Rusesabagina’s PDR-Ihumure to plan an offensive on Rwanda.
Nditurende in particular admitted having travelled to Kinshasa from Goma in September 2008 with a one Dieudonne Muhindo-Muhima, to meet Ingabire and again met her in Congo Brazzaville to carry on with the plans to start the armed group.