On Monday, the High Court started hearing the appeal of Edouard Bamporiki, a former Minister of State in the Ministry of Culture and Youth, who was convicted to four years in prison for corruption and crimes related to the use of authority for his own benefit.
Bamporiki was represented by two lawyers inckuding Habyarimana Jean Baptiste and Evode Kayitana.
The lawyers argued that their client should be given a lenient sentence for his crimes and that the court fine should also be reduced from Rwf 60million which he was slapped with in September this year.
On the crime of soliciting Rwf10million from one friend Norbert Gatera, the lawyers and client argued that he solicited it from a friend to bail out Gatera’s wife- who was arrested for bribery, and not as abuse of his power as a cabinet minister as earlier stated in the court conviction.
“I am innocent but I am here as a criminal. I seek the court’s intervention here because I asked for pardon for soliciting money of which I was not supposed to,” Bamporiki said.
He added that what he did was an act of helping a friend and for that reason he was given a token of appreciation (Rwf10million) and stated that if forgiven he would be of more value and change his past than being in prison.
Lawyer Habyarimana said that the fact that his client wrote on Twitter seeking forgiveness for his conduct is enough reason to prove he is a loyal citizen willing to change and thus a need to consider their request.
The prosecution said that Bamporiki’s request is baseless because the crimes were committed by a well-informed official who held the position of power and studied law.
On the other hand, the prosecution also appealed based on the fact that ” there were some actions that are part of the crime that were not considered, thus giving the suspect a lenient punishment.”
It said that the earlier court ruling did not consider the fact that Bamporiki was a minister of State who acted in his powers.
In earlier decisions, the court has sentenced Bamporiki to 4 years in jail and a fine of Rwf 60 million versus a request of 20 years in jail and Rwf 200 million fine that was demanded by the prosecution. The latter said that the court was too lenient yet there are aggravating factors.
The verdict will be read on January 16, 2023 at 8:00 p.m