Prosecution seeks five-year jail for ex-Premier Habumuremyi

Leave a comment / By: manifel / 07 November, 2020 09:15:07AM
Prosecution seeks five-year jail for ex-Premier Habumuremyi

The prosecution on Friday, November 6, requested Nyarugenge Intermediate Court to jail former Prime Minister Pierre-Damien Habumuremyi for five years and slap him a fine of Rwf892.2 million for the crime of issuing a bounced cheque.

Concerning the other crime of breach of trust, prosecution requested imprisonment of three years and a Rwf1 million fine for the suspect. 

Once convicted on both crimes, there is a likelihood that both sentences will be served concurrently. 

Habumuremyi was arrested in July, few days after his university, the Christian University of Rwanda (CHUR) was closed by the Ministry of Education. 

All the crimes he stands accused of are linked to anomalies in the management of the university.

Habumuremyi is said to have accumulated hundreds of millions of francs in debts to different suppliers to the University that was at the time of its closure operating two campuses, one in Kigali and another one in Karongi District.

Habumuremyi, who attended the substantive hearing online, pleaded not guilty of all charges against him again.

On the charge of issuing a bounced cheques, he said that the cheques the university issued were not exactly meant for payments, but rather was a form of commitment to the creditors to demonstrate that the university owed them money.

He also among others noted that he is an individual and therefore shouldn’t be tried for crimes allegedly committed by the university, which has a legal personality.

Refuting his claims, the prosecution said that a university can’t commit a crime, but rather its employees, which they said is the reason they are pinning this to the university’s legal representative, who is Habumuremyi.

The prosecution also noted that Habumuremyi shouldn’t claim that the issued cheques were in form of commitment to creditors, because there was no agreement between both parties to that effect, adding that “every collateral should be registered and approved by the Registrar General, which did not happen in this case.”

Meanwhile, the prosecution has also requested that the defunct university is fined Rwf175 million for issuing a bounced cheque and Rwf1 million for breach of trust.

His co-accused

Habumuremyi is jointly accused with Charles Serushyana, the Director of Finance at the defunct university.

He is accused of using his position to sign on a cheque while he knew very well that the account against which the cheque was issued was not credited.

In his defence, Serushyana claimed that by the time he signed the cheque he was no longer in charge of finance and therefore had no clue that there was no money on the university’s account.

For the co-accused, the prosecution sought a 4-year sentence for issuing bounced cheque.

They also seek a fine of Rwf87.5m for him.

The court is expected to give its verdict on the case on November 27 at 2 pm.

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