NYAGATARE-Prosecutors at Nyagatare Primary Court, are seeking an eight month sentence for former Nyagatare Mayor, Robert Kashemeza, as fresh charges of influence peddling in tendering procedures are brought forward.
In March last year, Nyagatare Intermediate Court sentenced the former mayor to five years in prison after he was found guilty of mismanaging Rwf10m of public funds.
On Thursday, Kashemeza re-appeared before court along with his seven co-accused.
Based on 2007 Auditor General’s report, Court heard that Kashemeza, using his powers as the mayor, influenced the offering of tenders worth Rwf552,999,531, which is contrary to the law.
“The Law states that a district mayor is not allowed, in any case, to peddle in any tender procedures in the district. But Kashemeza violated the law and used his powers to offer tenders worth millions of state funds,” said a prosecutor.
In his defence, the former Mayor argued that he was ignorant of the law, since he was not familiar with the procedure in local government. He wants the charges reduced to ‘abuse of office’.
However, prosecution insisted that since the law was already in the Official Gazette, ignorance of the law is no defence, and asked the court to hand him more eight months in prison with a fine of Rwf500, 000.
Kashemeza’s lawyer, Emmanuel Bimenyimana told court that since his client was unintentionally involved in tendering procedures, he should be exonerated and instead pay the said fine.
Kashemeza’s seven co-accused are former members of the district’s tender committee. The court set 20th October as the date for the ruling.