Arrested RDF officers pardoned

The Reserve Force Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Fred Ibingira, yesterday, returned to work after four months of suspension and house arrest on disciplinary grounds, according to a statement from the military.
Lt. Gen. Ibingira
Lt. Gen. Ibingira

The Reserve Force Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Fred Ibingira, yesterday, returned to work after four months of suspension and house arrest on disciplinary grounds, according to a statement from the military.

Also released from house arrest are Brig. Gen. Richard Rutatina, Director, Military Intelligence (J2); Brig. Gen. Wilson Gumisiriza, Commander, Third Division; and Col. Dan Munyuza, Director, External Security, but the three are still subject to fresh investigations, read the statement signed by the Spokesperson of the Rwanda Defence Forces and the Ministry of Defence, Brig. Gen. Joseph Nzabamwita.

“Subsequent investigations established significant professional failures, including indiscipline, lack of professionalism and disregard for the RDF Chain of Command. The Officers have acknowledged their misconduct and apologised appropriately,” the statement, which was sent exclusively to The New Times, read in part.

It added: “Administrative measures with regard to individual responsibility have been taken in accordance with relevant RDF regulations.”

“In view of this, Lt. Gen. Fred Ibingira will resume his duties as Reserve Force Chief of Staff, while Brig Gen Richard Rutatina, Brig. Gen. Wilson Gumisiriza and Col. Dan Munyuza will report to RDF Headquarters for further management as follows:

“Brig Gen Richard Rutatina and Col Dan Munyuza will not resume their offices as investigations into their cases continue. Brig Gen Wilson Gumisiriza will be handled by Auditorat Militaire for prosecution in Military Courts on new cases unearthed during           investigations.”

Nzabamwita  pointed out that the new cases against the three senior officers had nothing to do with the previous cases, for which they had been suspended and placed under house arrest since January 17.

“I can’t pre-empt the investigations...What I can confirm is that all the four officers were pardoned with regard to the initial disciplinary cases. For Lt. Gen. Ibingira, he’s now clean and back to work; while others are facing fresh investigations. Brig. Gen. Gumisiriza’s case is now under judicial investigation, the military prosecution will determine whether there’s sufficient criminal evidence for court proceedings or not,” Nzabamwita explained.

The four officers had been suspended from duty and put under house arrest pending investigation “for acts of indiscipline with respect to getting involved with civilians in business dealings in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).”

Pressed for details about the initial cases, Nzabamwita said the quartet was not directly involved in any business dealings in the DRC, but rather used their positions to peddle influence in their relations with civilians who were suspected of involvement in dubious businesses in DRC. “We could not ascertain whether they (businesses) amounted to criminal offences partly because we were able to pre-empt some of those activities, but they were clearly in contravention of the RDF code of conduct,” the RDF spokesperson said, adding that the officers had committed the offences separately, and not as a group.

“RDF’s moral and professional standards are very high, and the more senior you are the higher the benchmarks,” added Brig. Gen. Nzabamwita.

 Indeed, the Rwandan military boasts a longstanding reputation of strict disciplinary and professionalism standards, with senior and junior officers alike deemed to have acted contrary to the same standards held accountable.

Observers say it’s exactly these values that have won RDF international accolades and admiration, particularly for the exemplary disciplinary standards that have continued to characterise its peacekeeping contingents in various UN missions around the world.

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