Rwanda Focus (Kigali)

10 August 2012

Rwanda: Minaloc Permanent Secretary Verdict Set Today

The defense team of Cyril Turatsinze, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government (Minaloc) and his co-accused Réné Rwego Harelimana detained over corruption allegations, yesterday requested Nyarugenge Intermediate Court to acquit their clients saying that evidences presented against them were full of contradictions.

The verdict would have been read last Monday, but the court postponed it under reasons that evidences provided by both prosecution and the defense team were not enough; thus the court decided to conduct its investigation to find more facts.

According to Turatsinze's lawyers, the testimony provided by the businessman who had won a tender to supply IT equipments at the ministry; an unidentified person from whom the Minaloc PS is accused of soliciting a bribe worth Frw 2 million, contradicts itself.

They for instance said that the accused was alleged of soliciting the bribe by promising the businessman to get other tenders of the ministry in the future, while the witness told the court he was asked for the bribe as gratitude marking their good collaboration.

The lawyers also went on elaborating that the contradiction is based on the fact that the prosecutor had earlier told the court that the crime was committed somewhere in Muhima sector when Rwego received Frw 490,000 from the businessman on behalf of Turatsinze.

Yet, the businessman told the court the offense took place at Gisimenti.

"Due to these contradicting testimonies provided by the witness, his statement should not be considered reliable," Christophe Niyomugabo, one of Turatsinze's lawyers appealed to the court.

Rwego had denied any involvement in the corruption case and told the court that the money he received was from selling his computer.

But Prosecutor Rugambwa Ndibwami requested the court that the testimony provided by the involved witness should be valued and hand the maximum sentence to the accused as it was proposed last week.

The prosecutor had proposed a seven-year sentence in jail and pay a fine of Rwf20 million, if found guilty of soliciting the bribe.

Rwego and the Minaloc PS, detained at Kicukiro Police Station, were arrested on July 20 and 21 respectively.

The court will deliver the verdict this Friday at 2pm.

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