RDF firm Horizon-Sopyrwa SARL and its former managing director businessman Paul Muvunyi have been ordered by the Supreme Court to hire an independent auditor in a case where he could pay more than Rwf 8.2billion.
The two sides have to agree on the candidate or firm to carry out a forensic audit of the company’s accounts to establish if the money alleged to have been stolen by Muvunyi, did indeed leave its coffers.
By virtual of his presidency of Rwanda’s 2019 premier league champions Rayon Sports, a club considered the most popular locally, Muvunyi’s case is big news. The club’s diehard fans and the country’s establishment are eagerly following case with keen interest.
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 says he 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 claims 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, a decision that was quashed by the Commercial High Court.
In final arguments at the Supreme Court on June 5, the five-person bench led by Justice Sylvie Nyirinkwaya heard from company’s lawyers who were seeking Rwf 3.6billion in Rwandan Francs and $5m in American dollars from the Rayon Sports boss, as price to cover the firm’s losses.
Today, the Supreme Court was to deliver its verdict, but instead opted to order a forensic audit.
The auditor will have unfetted access to the accounts of the Horizon-Sopyrwa SARL as well as warehouse data.
In the accounts, the auditor will find out whether Muvunyi did remove the alleged money or it is still there as he has affirmed. In the warehouses, the audit will determine whether the liquid pyrethrum was exported to Kenya or was returned as argued by Muvunyi.
There was another twist in the session today. While Muvunyi was in court with his lawyers, Horizon-Sopyrwa SARL had sent the company Secretary Cyubahiro Justin and legal team.
He was ordered to sit in the audience, and the company told it has to be represented by only the managing director going forward.
The case opens on July 22. If the two sides fail to agree on auditor, the Supreme Court will appoint one.
Justice Sylvie Nyirinkwaya is leading the bench which includes; Justice Kayitesi Emely, Justice Kayitsi Zainabu, Justice Hitiyaremye Alphonse and Justice Rukundakuvuga Francois Regis.
Meanwhile, there was unusual security measures at the Supreme Court as that had not been the case preciously. Private security guards were checking journalists and everyone to leave the phones with them.
Inside the session, a court official also ordered that no cameras, recorders and phones were allowed in the court.
No explanation was given.