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How Businessman Mironko Earned Himself A Sentence For Insulting Court

by Daniel Sabiiti
2:20 pm

Businessman François Xavier Mironko has been caught in a number of controversies in recent years.

Renowned businessman in Kigali was on Wednesday, February 22 sent to prison for holding court in contempt both in writing and during a commercial case hearing.

François Xavier Mironko, a tycoon who became a household name in Kigali for being the first and oldest plastic products manufacturer in the country, has been fighting a  number of legal battles

Though his Gikondo-based Mironko Plastics Industries which makes plastic materials remained around, it has seen competition since 2000 with new products coming on the market but has also been locked in legal disputes related to breaching commercial agreements.

One of these cases that Mironko has been in court battling, led him into insulting judges in the Supreme Court –first in writing and later verbally- saying that the judges were biased (one-sided) during the case proceedings.

In his letter to the Chief Justice dated January 26, 2023, and the comments he made during subsequent proceedings on Wednesday, February 22, Mironko accused the bench of Judges of bias.

The court of judges was composed of six including the Court President Chief Justice Faustin Ntezilyayo, and judges Immaculeé Nyirinkwaya, Alphonse Hitiyaremye, Richard Muhumuza, Aimé Muyoboke Karimunda plus the clerk Alice Mutangampundu.

The court ruling said that coupled with his refusal to implement earlier court orders to use an expert in his case., this was considered as holding the court in contempt thus “insulting the Court during the trial”. The businessman is said to have used crude and insulting language in his letter addressed to the court.

In deciding on whether this is a criminal offense, the court used Article 260, paragraphs one and three, of Law n° 68/2018 of 30/08/2018 provides for crimes and penalties in general, provides that anyone who insults or insults a court, the judge, his duties and symbols is held accountable.

This offense comes with punishments of imprisonment of not less than two (2) years but not more than three (3) years.

Considering that this was the first time Mironko committed the offense, the court sentenced him to a two-year sentence but ruled that he will serve three months in custody, while 21 months will be a suspended sentence.

Since June 2020, the businessman has been battling legal issues, including one he was locked in with the energy utility, Rwanda Energy Group (REG), which accused him of stealing electricity through an illegal connection at his Gikondo-based factory

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