Former Minister of state for culture, Edouard Bamporiki was on Monday sentenced to five years in jail and ordered to pay a fine worth Rwf30 million by the Kigali-based High Court.
The decision was in response to appeal cases filed by both the prosecution and the defendant challenging a verdict issued by the intermediate court of Nyarugenge in September last year, which sentenced him to 4 years in jail for crimes related to misuse of the authority given to him by the law.
The out-spoken politician was suspended from office in May last year amid investigations on charges of receiving a bribe worth Rwf 5million from local businessman Norbert Gatera, on promise of helping him reopen his closed alcohol factory.
In addition to this, the prosecutors said that he had earlier taken a bribe worth Rwf 10 million from the same person, promising to help him get his wife out of Police custody. Gatera's wife was facing charges related to corruption at that time.
After more than 3 months of being held under house arrest (from May to September), Bamporiki was arraigned before the intermediate court of Nyarugenge, which found him guilty of fraudulent acquisition of another person's property and abuse of the authority given to him by the law.
He was subsequently sentenced to four years in jail and ordered to pay a fine worth Rwf 60 million, a decision that both the prosecution and defendant appealed against.
Among other things, his appeal was based on a claim that the prosecution failed to explain how he abused the authority given to him by the law, thus, he asked the judges to drop this particular charge against him.
For the charge of fraudulent acquisition of another person's property to which he had pleaded guilty, his lawyer Jean-Baptiste Habyarimana called for a suspended jail term and reduction of the Rwf 60 million fine to Rwf 30 million.
However, during a High Court ruling that took place on Monday, the judges resolved that his appeal did not have reasonable grounds since there was enough evidence pinning him to having committed both crimes.
They thus handed him a 5-year jail term.
More about the case:
According to the prosecutors, early last year, Bamporiki approached Gatera, informing him that his gin factory would be closed since it was situated in a residential area.
The politician then allegedly proposed that he would help keep it open on condition that he gives him a bribe worth Rwf10m.
Initially, the businessman did not want to pay the bribe, but after a few days, his factory was closed, something that compelled him to try to approach Bamporiki, asking him to assist in its reopening.
After agreeing on what to do, the two met up at Grand Legacy Hotel on the evening of May 4 to get the deal done, little did Bamporiki know that Gatera had informed the Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) about the whole plan.
Bamporiki had promised Merard Mpabwanamaguru, Kigali's Vice-Mayor in charge of Urbanisation and Infrastructure in the meeting, who would spearhead the reopening process.
After spending a few hours at the hotel, Bamporiki allegedly instructed Gatera to bring the money and keep it at the reception, as they continued to hang around.
The meeting continued until midnight, and when they got up to leave, they found RIB personnel waiting for them in the parking lot.
Part of the money was found in Mpabwanamaguru's car (having been sent to his driver "unaware" on Bamporiki's orders), while some was still at the reception.
From then, the investigators launched a probe into the issue, which culminated in the prosecution of the ex-minister.
Mpabwanamaguru was not prosecuted because the authorities did not find anything incriminating concerning him and the incident, because he was "not aware of the plan."