KIGALI - Former State Minister of Education, Theoneste Mutsindashyaka, yesterday appeared in the High Court to answer charges of embezzlement and concealing foreign bank accounts from the Ombudsman.
Mutsindashyaka is charged alongside Joseph Bahenda, a former Kigali City Council (KCC) Director of Finance and one Umugeni Mukabalisa of mismanaging the Kigali City Park project during his tenure as the Mayor of Kigali City.
Prosecutor Alain Mukurarinda told court that Mutsindashyaka illegally approved payment of over Rwf1billion to GEOMAP, a Kenyan consultancy firm that was contracted by the City Council yet the company was not supposed to get the money.
The accused pleaded not guilty to the charges. Bahenda and Mukabalisa, also a former employee of KCC, are accused by the prosecution of being party to crimes committed when Mutsindashyaka was still Mayor of Kigali City in 2004.
The prosecution also argued that Mutsindashyaka owned accounts in Canada and the United States and the former State Minister for Primary and Secondary Education had deliberately concealed his accounts.
Mutsindashyaka, who looked calm throughout the proceedings, along with his lawyer, Beatrice Umubyeyi, denied all the charges. He is also accused of accumulating wealth beyond what his earnings could justify.
Prosecution also told the court that Mutsindashyaka failed to declare all his wealth to the Ombudsman whose findings indicated that he owns more property than he declared.
In July 2010, the Nyarugenge Intermediate Court cleared Mutsindashyaka, who was then serving a 1 year jail term handed to him by Kacyiru Court, of some charges, but it maintained others.
The High Court will read the verdict on February 4.