June 5, 2019

Rayon Sports President Risks Paying Rwf 8.2billion to RDF Company

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Businessman Paul Muvunyi (C) is a popular name in Rwanda as result of his association with Rayon Sports football team which last week won the local top league

The Supreme Court is preparing to decide on a case in which the RDF owned agro-processing firm Horizon-Sopyrwa accuses its former managing director of stealing a total of up to Rwf 2.2billion in Rwandan Francs and US dollars.

Businessman Paul Muvunyi, also President of Rwanda’s 2019 premier league champions Rayon Sports with his legal team and Horizon-Sopyrwa appeared today in court for final submissions.

The complicated case has been ongoing for many years. Horizon-Sopyrwa, which produces and exports pyrethrum, first went to court alleging that Muvunyi had embezzled Rwf 1.1billion from its coffers – money earned from a health ministry contract to supply mosquito nets.

Muvunyi apparently opened an account in Bank of Kigali (BK) on which this money was deposited. However, according to the company, even if the account was in Horizon-Sopyrwa names, Muvunyi was the sole signatory – so the payments never reflected in the company’s books of accounts.

In the same case, the company claimed Muvunyi had also stollen $1.2m, which was payment for liquid pyrethrum exported to the Kenya Pyrethrum Board in the mid 2000.

The lower Court found Muvunyi guilty and ordered him to pay $1.2m, Rwf 1,1 bllion and Rwf 183.4 million fines, as well as Rwf 9 million damages to the Auditor who disclosed the financial activities of Horizon-Sopyrwa during the time when Paul Muvunyi was the head.

The shroud businessman immediately appealed to the higher commercial court in Musanze district. At this stage, the appeals court agreed with Muvunyi that he had no case to answer.

Horizon-Sopyrwa refused to accept the decision, and also filed an appeal to the Supreme Court. The hearings have been ongoing since last November.

In the final submissions today, the company’s legal team Isaie Mpayimana and Emmanuel Abijuru say evidence adduced before the Bench clearly shows that Muvunyi’s actions caused the firm huge losses in revenue and taxes owed to the Rwanda Revenue Auathority (RRA).

Horizon-Sopyrwa wants Rwf 3.6billion in Rwandan Francs and $5m in American dollars from the Rayon Sports boss, as price to cover the firm’s losses.

In other words, what Muvunyi now owes Horizon-Sopyrwa has jumped from the original total of Rwf2.2 billion to Rwf 8.2 billion.

The accused’s lawyers Bandora Alfred and Christophe Niyomugabo presented what they said were original copies of bank documents showing the health ministry payment on the company’s accounts.

They also presented supposed orginal copies which they say indicate that the planned exportation of 20 tones of liquid pyrethrum to Kenya did not go through as the Kenyan importer had abandoned the project. Muvunyi says the pyrethrum was returned to Horizon Sopyrwa stores in Musanze district.

The Supreme Court Bench heard more than 5 hours of arguments and counter-arguments, as either side was well aware this was their last chance to prove their case.

The Supreme Court ruled that it will deliver its verdict on June 27.

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