Court gets more evidence in PS graft case
The Intermediate Court of Nyarugenge, yesterday, produced its own independent findings in the corruption case involving the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government, Cyrille Turatsinze and his co-accused, Rene Rwego Harelimana.
The court’s evidence came out of cross examination of prosecution witness, Jerome Nshimiyimana, who affirmed that Turatsinze solicited a bribe from him as a ticket to winning tenders in the ministry and sent Rwego to collect it.
In his testimony, which was read in yesterday’s hearing, Nshimiyimana said Turatsinze called him and they met at Kisementi, where the latter asked him for “Rwf3 million or the least Rwf2 million for having worked well together.”
Nshimiyimana also claimed when he met Turatsinze at Kisementi, the latter told his driver to get out of the car as they held a private discussion, where Turatsinze pressed for a bribe.
He affirmed that Turatsinze had promised to aid him win tenders in the ministry, if he gave him at least Rwf2 million.
He also said in a testimony, that on July 20, Turatsinze sent Rwego to collect the money. Rwego was arrested in the act with Rwf490, 000, apparently given to him by Nshimiyimana to take to Turatsinze.
However, Turatsinze, who has maintained his innocence throughout the hearing, described Nshimiyimana’s testimony as “untrue and pure lies.”
“He [Nshimiyimana] is lying. I never held any private discussion with him, neither in office nor anywhere. What he is saying is just pure lies,” Turatsinze said.
His lawyer, Christopher Niyomugabo, also argued that Nshimiyimana wasn’t sure of his allegations, and added that his varied evidence were enough to prove that “he might misguide the court, if it followed his testimonies.”
“Basing on the availed evidences, there is nothing that proves that my client committed the crime, apart from what the witness says, which also has no base. I request court not to value such baseless testimonies and prove my client innocent,” said Niyomugabo.
Yesterday’s court session was previously meant for announcing the verdict, after court postponed the ruling from Monday to get time to conduct its own investigations into the case. However, the presiding judge, Maliciane Mukagasana adjourned the ruling to today.
Prosecution prayed court hand the accused a maximum sentence of seven-years and a fine of Rwf20 million. It argued that the accused violated the law which is punishable under article 635.Article 635 states, “any person who explicitly or implicitly demands or receives gifts or any other illegal advantage or accepts it as a
promise in order to accomplish an illegal act or refrain from carrying out his/or her duties, shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of more than five years to seven years and a fine of two to ten times the value of illegal advantage demanded.”
Turatsinze was arrested July 21, and is still detained at Kicukiro Police Station, together with his alleged accomplice.