Fugitive Paul Rusesabagina was, early this week, questioned by the Belgian Federal Prosecution in the presence of a rogatory investigative commission from Rwanda over his alleged links to terrorist group Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).
Belgian media reports indicate that Rusesabagina, wanted by the Government of Rwanda on suspicion of financing subversive activities came under scrutiny from Belgian Prosecution especially regarding his FDLR connections.
It is the first time, Rusesabagina, who has been falsely portrayed as a hero by Hollywood through the movie “Hotel Rwanda” is investigated by a foreign country over his links with the FDLR.
Rwanda has filed a complaint to the US regarding his subversive activities.
Rusesabagina was questioned for hours by the Belgian Prosecution in the presence of a delegation of investigators from Rwanda led by the Deputy Prosecutor General, Ildephonse Hitiyaremye.
“Mr. Rusesabagina was questioned about his complicity with the movement of Hutu rebels of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), based mainly in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC),”
a close source from the Belgian Prosecution told the press.
The source further said that the Belgian Prosecution is aware that the Rwandan authorities have been asserting for months that there is "strong evidence" that Rusesabagina and his co-accused Victoire Ingabire have been financing FDLR, prompting the prosecution to question him.
In an interview with The New Times, the Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga confirmed that indeed a team of investigators travelled to Belgium where the questioning took place.
“Yes, in the presence of Rwanda’s Deputy Prosecutor General and the team he led to Brussels, Belgian Prosecutors questioned Paul Rusesabagina on his involvement with Elements of a Genocidal terrorist group FDLR,” Ngoga said.
“This happened following our request for a rogatory commission which the Belgian authorities found to be merited.”
Rusesabagina is accused of sending money via Western Union to two top commanders of the FDLR with the 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
On September 22, 2009, Rusesabagina wired funds to one Lambert Mbanga Mbanza through Western Union in San Antonio, Texas in the United States. Mbaza 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”.
Ngoga described the developments in Belgium as an “important mileage” towards the conclusion of the investigation that must eventually lead to a court case either in Rwanda or, if necessary, elsewhere.
“We are keen to pursue his use of financial power he amasses from among other sources his organized pattern of massive fraud under the cover of Paul Rusesabagina Foundation,” Ngoga said
“He (Rusesabagina) told investigators it helps Orphans in Uganda and not in Rwanda. We have reason to believe he uses the resources to perpetuate terror in our country and in the in the region,” Ngoga said.
It is believed that Lambert Mbanga Mbanza is Lt. Col Noel Habiyambere, a former top commander with the FDLR currently charged, along with Ingabire, of planning activities aimed at causing state insecurity.
Information also indicates that the same Mbanga Mbanza and another person known as Ali Hatari Murinde received unspecified amount money from Rusesabagina through one Innocent Minani, which they received from Dar-es-Salaam as they conducted regional manoeuvres to recruit for the new rebel group.