Military High Court denies Maritime chief bail
In yet another indication of the military’s crackdown on all forms of transgressions, yesterday the Kanombe-based Military High Court, upheld the ruling that Col Firmin Bayingana stays under provisional detention as investigations into his ‘peddling influence’ allegations continue.
Bayingana, 44, is the commandant of Rwanda Defence Forces’ Marine; was arrested on April 19 2009, over influence peddling in trying to sabotage a judicial process.
According to military prosecution, the navy chief is accused of having peddled influence in a case involving one Leon Ngandu Munyaburanga.
The colonel’s action led to the businessman’s provisional release two years ago.
Clad in his military fatigue, Bayingana attentively listened as Brig Gen John Peter Bagabo who presided over the proceedings pass the verdict, upholding an earlier ruling by the Military Tribunal to keep him in detention as investigations into the matter continue.
“Court decides that there are serious incriminating indices indicating that Bayingana may have done the crime alleged to him,” the verdict read.
“And so his provisional detention remains.”
Bayingana had filed his appeal against the earlier ruling on May 4, and the hearing was conducted on May 12.
Together with his defence lawyer Emmanuel Ntambara, they had logged an appeal against provisional detention, saying he was unlawfully detained and that his explanations proved him innocent of the allegations.
But Military Prosecution, represented by Staff Sergeant Faustin Mukunzi, had maintained during the pre-trial detention proceedings that Bayingana exercised influence over Rubavu Prosecutor Jean Damascene Hitimana and to judges in Musanze court from where Munyaburanga’s case was handled.
They allege that Bayingana used is status in the military to influence the release of Munyaburanga. Prosecution also said the issue of peddling influence was discussed in the recent government retreat, in addition to the call Bayingana received from the Chief of Defence Staff on the same issue.
However, in a phone interview yesterday, Bayingana’s attorney Emmanuel Ntambara refuted the allegations against his client, saying they were baseless.
“The retreat did not talk of Bayingana in person, they talked about the military in general,” he said, explaining that his client has no close relations with the businessman, and that prosecutor Hitimana has himself denied having been subject of influence from Bayingana.
Bayingana’s dossier remains under Military Prosecution while he continues to serve his thirty-day provisional detention after which the court will decide whether to start the trial in substance.