Habumuremyi remanded for 30 daysLeave a comment / By: manifel / 22 July, 2020 15:12:04PM
The Gasabo Primary Court has remanded former Prime Minister, Pierre Damien Habumuremyi for 30 days to allow for investigations before his trial continues in substance.
Habumuremyi is facing charges of breach of trust and issuing bounced cheques.
According to prosecution, Habumuremyi issued bounced cheques totalling to about Rwf170 million to different people on behalf of his now-closed Christian University of Rwanda.
On the charges of breach of trust, prosecution said that Habumuremyi through his university offered a supply tender to a one Jean-Bosco Nkurunziza, but before being awarded the tender, he was asked to present with Rwf10 million as security to hold onto as he fulfils his obligations.
They promised to refund him the money upon execution of the tender—which he reportedly did, however, he was only refunded Rwf5 million.
For the remaining Rwf5 million, and the payment for his goods, he was offered a cheque, which bounced.
In a hearing that took place on July 16, Habumuremyi pleaded not guilty.Presenting his defence, he said that the cheques the university issued were not exactly meant for payments, but rather were a form of commitment to the creditors to demonstrate that the university owed them money.
In addition to this, he also attributed the university’s financial woes to the Covid-19 pandemic, which he said, hindered the institution’s ability to pay its creditors.
His lawyer asked court to release his client on bail, arguing that he (Habumuremyi) is a well-known and trusted person who will respect court summons in case he is needed.
They also said that he had a medical condition.
In addition, the defendant’s lawyer also said that Habumuremyi’s passport is being withheld by prosecution and therefore cannot be a flight risk.Habumuremyi is represented by two lawyers. One of them, Jean Pierre Kayitare, was in court during the ruling, a session Habumuremyi did not attend.
The lawyer also argued that his client has a heart condition, and so, putting him in jail would not be good for his health.
During the previous hearing last week, prosecution opposed their request, arguing that Habumuremyi might use his prominence to interfere with investigations or try to distort evidence in case he is left on bail. Prosecution also argued that his health conditions shouldn’t be a point for him to be released on bail since medical treatment is also offered to those in detention.
Delivering the ruling on Tuesday July 21, the presiding judge handed Habumuremyi a 30-day remand, saying there is reasonable ground for him to be suspected to have committed the crimes.The judge said that Habumuremyi himself confessed that he issued checks to creditors well knowing well that there wasn’t enough money on his bank accounts.
In addition to this, the judge said that people to whom he issued these cheques themselves testified to judicial authorities about Habumuremyi’s acts, which also presents reasonable ground to suspect him for having done it.
On the crime of breach of trust, the judge ruled that due to the fact that Habumuremyi confessed that his university took money from Nkurunziza, and only refunded him part of it; there is reasonable ground for suspecting him for breach of trust.
Habumuremyi worked as the minister of education and before that, he was a member of the East African Legislative Assembly.
Before this, he was the Executive Secretary of the National Electoral Commission.
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