High Court judge arrested over suspected bribery

MUSANZE - A high court judge in Ruhengeri in Musanze District, Claudien Niyonizera, has been arrested for allegedly taking a bribe worth Rwf 100,000.He was arrested together with a fixer, Jean Chrisostom Harerimana, who is believed to have linked the judge and a litigant, whose identity could not revealed for security purposes.
 Claudien Niyonizera, the high court judge charged with accepting a bribe is paraded at the Remera police station. The New Times /Timothy Kisambira
Claudien Niyonizera, the high court judge charged with accepting a bribe is paraded at the Remera police station. The New Times /Timothy Kisambira

MUSANZE - A high court judge in Ruhengeri in Musanze District, Claudien Niyonizera, has been arrested for allegedly taking a bribe worth Rwf 100,000.

He was arrested together with a fixer, Jean Chrisostom Harerimana, who is believed to have linked the judge and a litigant, whose identity could not revealed for security purposes.

According to Police spokesman Theos Badege, the litigant, who gave the bribe, had a case presided over by the said judge, in which he allegedly stood to make a lot of money if the court ruled in his favour.

Police said that the judge reportedly wanted 10 percent of the damages paid, if he ruled in favour of the litigant.

The Rwf 100,000, according to police, was a down payment, ahead of the verdict, and was being passed on by the alleged intermediary, who is known to both the judge and the victim.

However, Judge Niyonizera denied the allegations saying that the money he received was what the fixer owed him.

“Harerimana called me to meet him in town so he can refund my money. I went to meet him and found him with the person whose case I was hearing.

“I didn’t recognise this person though he looked familiar. Harerimana gave me my money and I did not know if he had received it from the victim,” explained the Judge.

Harerimana also denied the accusations saying the money was not a bribe, claiming that he had borrowed it from the alleged victim to clear the judge’s debt.

“The Judge was due to be transferred to Rwamagana High Court so I decided to borrow the money from the victim so as to pay him before he leaves,” Harerimana said.

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