The Nyarugenge Intermediate Court on Monday granted bail to Dr Francis Habumugisha, the owner of Goodrich TV, who is accused of assaulting Diane Kamali during a business meeting in a much-publicised assault case which drew a lot of furore on social media.
Habumugisha is accused of slapping Kamali and damaging her phone after she recorded a session where he was verbally abusing another person identified as Mary Magdalene Nzaramba during the work meeting.
Kamali, using social media, accused authorities of not acting despite her reporting the assault case which happened in July. Institutions sprang into action and Habumugisha was arrested and later arraigned in court where he denied the charges and sought to be released on bail.
Court said Dr Habumugisha, like any other Rwandan, has a right to bail on legal grounds mainly because he provided sureties and guarantees which court found admissible.
The Judge also said that the businessman and media owner is facing charges that don’t carry a sentence of more than 5 years. Under the law, unless it is found that the accused can tamper with evidence, bail is granted if the defendant presents security and sureties to convince the court that they will cooperate with the process.
Habumugisha told the court that he owned several properties and businesses in the country and a known address, which means that he is not a flight risk.
He also presented sureties to court. Court also said that Habumugisha has cooperated with the judicial process, responding to the summons and has not exhibited any signs of running away from the legal proceedings. Court also ruled that Habumugisha would be reporting to Prosecution every Monday but did not set the date from the substantive trial to begin.
Both Habumugisha and Kamali were not present in court as the bail decision was read. Despite denying the charges, Habumugisha admitted to failing to manage his temper for a moment and slapped Kamali lightly. He also said when he snapped he destroyed the phone because he feared the video would be used to blackmail him.
He claimed that despite working with the two women, they were also his business rivals who worked with Ugandan-based businesses which were his competitors.
Prosecutors said that Habumugisha on July 15 assaulted Kamali as she recorded a session in a work meeting where he was verbally abusing her workmate Nzaramba.
Upon realizing that he was being recorded, he attacked Kamali and slapped her before confiscating and damaging her phone. Prosecutors handed over Kamali’s damaged phone to the Judge and replayed the CCTV footage in court.
Nzaramba in a meeting reportedly accused Goodrich TV managers of mismanagement and misconduct. In response, Habumugisha started abusing and humiliating Nzaramba which prompted Kamali to record the session on the phone. Habumugisha lost his cool when he noticed he was being recorded.
Prosecutors said Habumugisha abused Nzaramba with obscenities on her mother and told her to “shut up because she’s young” after she raised concerns at work in a multi-level marketing company known as Alliance in Motion.
The video shows him breaking the phone to pieces. Habumugisha, who reportedly boasts about being friends with high ranking officials, told the court that he had resolved the issue amicably with Diane Kamali by giving her $300 to buy a new phone, which was allegedly worth Rwf200, 000.
Prosecutors had previously protested against Habumugisha being given bail because investigations are still ongoing, considering that there could be other cases involving him while defending that if released on bail, he can compromise evidence.
Habumugisha told court two weeks ago that he should be released on bail because he is a responsible citizen who “serves the country and owns lots of properties, meaning that he cannot run away.” He also presented sureties.