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Tanzanian Bishop Protected Genocide Suspect in Malawi

by Kalinda Brenda
5:00 pm

Vincent Murekezi, handcuffed (center)has for two decades bribed his way out to evade extradition to Rwanda

Malawi court has this morning heard that businesses of a wealthy genocide suspect are all run by offering bribes and kickbacks to Malawi government officials.

Vincent Murekezi highly feared back home in Tumba village, Huye district worked closely and financed Interahamwe militia to hunt down and kill Tutsi during the 1994 genocide against Tutsi which claimed a million lives.

He had changed his names and acquired a Malawian passport. Murekezi also holds a fake Rwandan passport not recorded in Rwanda’s immigration system.

Murekezi was arrested on December 8 after Rwanda exerted intense pressure against Malawi that the otherwise strong Businessman on their territory was actually a genocide fugitive responsible for grave atrocities.

Appearing before the Lilongwe Magistrate court, Murekezi was informed of charges of corruption and bribery committed locally before facing judges on his extradition charges levied against him by Rwanda since 2009.

The Malawi Nation Publication Ltd (NPL) exclusively told KT Press that Murekezi is believed to have handed bribes to several Malawi officials with over K15million (Kwacha), an equivalent of Rwf 16.7 million.

This was on top of tax evasion for several years before his arrest in the Malawian capital Lilongwe on December 8.

Murekezi has been in Malawi for the last twenty-two years and is believed to be backed by another Tanzanian born religious business tycoon – Bishop Abraham Simama- who has been referred to by Malawian media (Nyasa Times) as the man shielding the suspect’s arrest and extradition.

Apparently handing bribes and corrupting officials is not new in the face of Murekezi. He is alleged to have dispatched sums of money to silence the local justice court (Gacaca) judges in Tumba sector where he hails from, after residents gave several testimonies on his involvement in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.

At first, according to one of the members of Inyangamugayo (mediators) who led the Gacaca court panel, Murekezi once sent $5,000 cash through an agent.

He also made an offer of Rwf50 million when the verdict was about to be delivered by the Gacaca, according to details contained in the international arrest warrant issued by Rwanda later the same year.

He still was sentenced to life in jail following for Genocide crimes and crimes against humanity by Gacaca court.

Back in Malawi where Murekezi has lived as businessman, he continued to bribe his way out – following tireless efforts to completely change his identity. For instance, the Malawian passport he holds appears as Vincent M. Banda, born from Mbeya in Tanzania.

Rwanda has placed genocide charges against the suspect since 2009 but he had managed to evade justice with assistance of some influential persons in Malawi.

While in Rwanda, the prominent businessman and well-known as a member of the ‘who is who’ in Tumba sector in Southern Province of Rwanda, committed genocide atrocities in which he personally was involved.

Murekezi is believed to have orchestrated the killing of one Celestin Ukobizaba at the end of June 1994.

Murekezi in handcuffs will re-appear in court January 2 , 2017