Rwanda: Genocide Denier Mugenzi Jailed for Two Years Over Fraud

(file photo).
24 October 2020

The Norwich Crown Court on Friday, October 23, sentenced genocide denier René Mugenzi for 27 months after he was convicted of stealing GBP220,000 (approx. Rwf279m) from St John the Baptist Cathedral where he volunteered as their treasurer.

The court heard that the money was illegally drained from the Cathedral's bank account to the convict's bank account between March 2016 and May 2018.

The cash had been donated by worshippers at the end of services, and the large portion of it was designated for Catholic charities and church work.

However, the court heard, Mugenzi pocketed the money to fund his gambling addiction.

The prosecution disclosed that the 44 year-old, who claim to be a political activist and an opponent of the Rwandan government, had full access to the account and there were no checks in place.

He, therefore, transferred small amounts into his own account and lost track of how much he had taken.

The fraud was not discovered until the cathedral carried out a review into its finances two years later in 2018 when it was struggling to pay bills.

In July, Mugenzi admitted the fraud at Norwich Magistrates' Court, but magistrates barred the public from knowing about the case because Mugenzi's solicitor told them the fraudster's life was under threat.

While announcing the verdict on Friday, the Judge said that Mugenzi had "grossly abused" trust placed in him.

Acknowledging that the convict had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity, the judge, however, emphasized that only a prison sentence could be justified.

Who is René Mugenzi?

Mugenzi was born in southern Russia to Rwandan parents, according to his profile available on the internet where he is described as a "human rights activist, community organizer and politician".

The 44-year old left Russia while still a child and grew up in Rwanda.

He fled the country at the age of 18 and three years later moved to the UK where he worked with Rwandan opposition groups. He has lived in England ever since.

Mugenzi's father Joseph Mugenzi was close to the government that perpetrated the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.

He was himself convicted in absentia by a Gacaca court for crimes of genocide.

Now living in the Netherlands, Joseph Mugenzi was president of FDU-Inkingi, a Europe-based political group that openly denies the Genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi.

The Dutch government is in the process of revoking his Dutch citizenship.

René Mugenzi too is an unapologetic Genocide denier. He frequently features in the media claiming that there was a double genocide.

In 2011, Mugenzi was warned by the United Kingdom Metropolitan Police that he could be a target for assassination by the Rwandan government.

However, Rwanda insisted that the claims were unfounded and unfair because the Metropolitan police never consulted with the government to verify the claims nor prove the authenticity of the allegations.

Several members of the Rwandan diaspora community in the UK reported having being defrauded of cash by Mugenzi.

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