Prosecution in Kigali has asked the court to reconsider charging Rwanda’s former Prime Minister, Dr Pierre Damien Habumuremyi with a count of breach of trust which he was earlier on cleared of in a case ruling held in 2020.
The former Premier, who at the time served as chairman of Chancellery for Heroes, National Orders and Decoration of Honour was in 2020 arrested and charged with two criminal offences including offering bouncing cheques and breach of trust with his business associates.
The crimes were allegedly committed by Habumuremyi within his power and during business operations and transactions with other Rwandan businessmen who supplied electronic equipment (computers) to the Christian University of Rwanda.
The suspect acted as the President of Board of Trustees.
For these charges, the Nyarugenge primary court charged him with only one criminal offence of offering bouncing cheques (worth Rwf 178m) and thereafter sentenced to him to three years in prison which he has so far served since July 2020 (for 14 months) in Nyarugenge prison, Kigali city.
The former PM was also slapped with a court fine of Rwf 892 million, which KTPress couldn’t by press time, independently verify if it was paid.
Habumuremyi had appealed this court ruling and his sentence on charges of offering bouncing cheques.
However, in an appeal hearing this Friday September 3, 2021; prosecution resurrected the case appealing to court to have Habumuremyi recharged on the count of breaching trust.
Prosecution argued that even when Habumuremyi claimed (in the earlier trial) that he had not committed the offence since he offered the cheques as a guarantee on behalf of the university, his suppliers were not informed of this action.
Prosecution contended that if the university suppliers were aware of this arrangement, they wouldn’t go ahead to sue Habumuremyi.
On this aspect prosecution told court that Habumuremyi had, as a person, breached trust between him and his suppliers (Ngabonziza and Nkurunziza).
“We are asking that the earlier charges levied on Pierre Damien Habumuremyi to be upheld and to be equally charged for breach of trust which the Nyarugenge court had cleared of the accused,” Prosecution said.
Prosecution also stated that Habumuremyi’s appeal had no legal basis.
After hearing the side of Habumuremyi’s suppliers, the court said that it will take its decision on September 29, 2021.
Issuance of a bouncing cheque is punishable under article 373 of the Rwandan penal code with a jail sentence of two to five years.
While breach of trust, which has been reported by Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) as increasing is punishable by Article 176 of law nº 68/2018 of 30/08/2018 The law determines offences and penalties in general provides that if one is convicted of breach of trust, they can get a jail term not less than three years but not more than five years.