Protais Mitali, a former senior government official who disappeared from his diplomatic office in Ethiopia, has resurfaced at the most unlikely location: a genocide commemoration event.
Mitali is said to be subject of an international arrest warrant issued by the Government of Rwanda. And last week, the Prosecutor General Jean Bosco Mutangana told a press conference that the warrant was still valid.
However, yesterday Mitali, who has never made any public appearance or media comment, surfaced at Belgium’s Senate where a genocide commemoration event was taking place. The event was combined with a major conference on the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.
Mitali was seated in the audience, and did not make any comments. But photos of him calmly following the event, are what is making the rounds on social media and local press in Rwanda.
In mid 2014, Mitali, who had been fired as cabinet minister, was appointed envoy to Ethiopia – to also serve as Rwanda’s envoy to the African Union.
Within just a year, he disappeared from his diplomatic office, without any warning.
Within days, it emerged that the Liberal Party (PL), in which Mitali had been replaced as leader by current Speaker of Lower Chamber of Parliament Donatile Mukabalisa, was seeking his arrest.
PL leaders accused Mitali of embezzling Rwf51m from the party coffers.
In April 2015, he was even expelled from the party. It is after these events in the party, that rumours circulated widely at the time that he had fled.
It is unclear when exactly he left Ethiopia, but in September the same year, a new envoy Hope Tumukunde, was sent to Addis Ababa.
Rwanda, through Interpol, issued an arrested warrant over the embezzlement cases in his party.
Mitali’s names and details were also published on the Interpol “Wanted” database.
Speaking on March 18, at a press conference, Prosecutor General Mutangana said: “He has yet to be arrested wherever he is hiding but whenever that will happen, he will be prosecuted over the cases he is accused.”
However, when The Chronicles conducted a search of Mitali on the Interpol site, the details seem to have been removed.
It remains to be seen what happens after Mitali has reappeared, more than three years off the radar.
Before becoming ambassador, Mitali served in different cabinet portfolios for many years – and had been one of the longest-serving ministers.