The Nyagatare Primary Court has provisionally released two suspects who are facing charges of embezzlement of cooperative funds.
The decision was taken on Thursday, October 28, 2023 after the court found that there were no substantial grounds to detain them much as their address is known.
The officials include the Managing Director of Nyagatare Dairy Marketing Cooperative (NDMC), Hodari Hillary who also happens to be the president of Sunrise FC, and his cooperative accountant, Happy Muhoza.
The duo was suspected of embezzling the cooperative’s assets amounting to Rwf160 million and were arrested on December 04, 2023, after the audit of Rwanda Cooperatives Agency (RCA) revealed the loss.
Hodari Hillary, 50 years old, and her co-accused, 30 years old were charged with five counts including embezzlement, giving illegal benefits, using powers granted by law for personal gains, concealing information about mismanagement of the Cooperative and misusing or destroying Cooperative property.
They have been prosecuted for these crimes at different times, since 2018. It is alleged that the Rwf160 million- includes a bank loan granted in the names of the Cooperative, which they allegedly did not use for the intended purpose.
Hodari Hillary, as the President of the Cooperative, allegedly illegally enlisted himself as an employee of the cooperative and received monthly salaries contrary to the law.
If convicted, the duo can serve varying prison terms from six months to 10 years, and a fine of Rwf1million to Rwf10 million.
In the meantime, Professor Jean-Bosco Harelimana, the former RCA Director General was this year detained and charged alongside other RCA officials for mismanagement and misuse of public resources as well as influence peddling, nepotism and intimidation.
They were released on bail.