BY FELLY KIMENYI
A third bail bid by embattled former chief executive of the now privatised Bank of Commerce, Development and Industry (BCDI) Alfred Kalisa was yesterday rejected.
Magistrate Jermain Bwasisi of Nyarugenge Court of Higher Instance rejected the application on the basis that the same court had earlier denied him bail.
“This same court had rejected the same application in lieu of both parties, the fact that the there was change of magistrate cannot reverse an earlier ruling,” Bwasisi, who replaced Chantal Werabe in the highly controversial trial said.
Werabe disqualified herself from the case in which the economist is charged among other crimes, breach of trust and favouritism.
She threw in the towel upon request by the then BCDI board members, who are new defendants in the trial.
Bwasisi observed that a court cannot reverse an earlier own decision unless if it was taken in absence of one of the parties.
He also rejected Kalisa’s argument that he has been in temporary detention for the mandatory six months in the trial.
“The law is clear on this, unless if you had been in jail and the trial in substance had not began, that is when one can demand release but in this case the trial has began,” Bwasisi, a magistrate at the court said.
Through his lawyers, Kalisa had requested for bail citing that his co-defendants are not in detention.
“Another reason my client is basing on to apply for bail is the fact that he cannot tamper with evidence at the (former) BCDI premises because the bank was sold out and he no longer has influence there,” Francois Rwangampuhwe, one of the accused’s lawyers said.
BCDI was recently taken over Ecobank, a Togo-based pan-African baking conglomerate. Ecobank bought 90 per cent of BCDI shares worth Frw6.4 billion after the latter was declared insolvent due to gross financial losses.
However, prosecution had earlier said that the reasons they requested for Kalisa’s detention are still standing and asked that he, together with his co-accused Eugene Rutajoga, be kept on remand.
“After all, it was not our intention to delay the case. In any case it is them who all along delayed it by requesting for the summonses of board members,” prosecutor Alain Mukurarinda said last week.
Athanase Rutabingwa, the counsel for Rutajoga, said his client would not be appealing the latest court decision.