. Gives police the slip moments before verdict
Kacyiru Lower Instance Court yesterday slapped a five-year prison sentence against the former Managing Director of The New Times Publications SARL (TNT), John Bosco Sanyu, for embezzling company funds.
Sanyu who was at the helm of TNT for over one year between 2004 and late 2005, was found guilty of using various schemes to embezzle the company’s funds amounting to over Rwf 51 million.
“Court hereby finds Sanyu guilty of embezzling the company’s funds basing on the evidence that was adduced by prosecution during the case and for this, he gets a prison sentence of five years and pay damages to this company,” ruled Claudine Nyirabikenke who presided over the case. She ordered that Sanyu be immediately arrested and sent to prison, “even if he intends to appeal.’
But Sanyu, who was seen at the court house before the session, could not be found. He managed to slink away without the notice of the police.
Reliable sources told The New Times that he escaped moments before the verdict was read and now the police have launched a manhunt.
Both his lawyers, Janvier Rwagitare and Christophe Niwemugabo, were absent when the verdict was read.
The judge also ordered Sanyu to pay the full amount he embezzled from TNT plus 10 percent of this sum (Frw5.1m) as damages on top of the court charges that totaled to Frw54, 000.
TNT sued for damages through it lawyer, Emmanuel Rukangira, it emerged during the proceedings that Sanyu had drawn money from company coffers on fictitious reasons, mostly as perdiems to which he was not entitled.
Court did not validate the letters which he had presented alleging that they were from the TNT Board of Directors authorising him to withdraw funds he said were meant to support Mutara Polytechnic University which is based in the Eastern Province. The funds apparently were never received by the school.
“The letters did not bear the company letterhead and this raises questions on their authenticity…besides, he backtracked from earlier statements he made when he said that he received all instructions by telephone,” said Nyirabikenke.
Sanyu was withdrawing Frw2m from the company every month as contribution for this university and during the investigations, it turned out that the money never got to the beneficiary. Other charges included air tickets he bought for members of his family using company funds.
The judge ordered him to immediately reimburse all this money plus damages. It later emerged that the documents that Sanyu presented to the court to support his arguments were fake and he was facing separate charges of forgery.