Three Kenyan nationals were on Tuesday charged before a court in Kigali in connection with a controversial event held two weeks ago where thousands of mainly young people were reportedly conned.
Those charged include Dr Kinuthia Charles, who, according to prosecution, is the lead individual behind the so called “Wealth Conference” which was scheduled to take place at the Kigali Convention Center on June 25. The others are females: Vivian KHISA MUKWHAN and Rachel Matipei.
Amid tight security in and outside the court, Prosecutors also presented one Rwandan national Muhamad Niyonkuru as having connived with the Kenyans.
The four, who appeared in good health and very smart, are charged under Article 174 and 225 of the penal code on fraud and holding illegal meeting.
However, the latest development is that the 13 Rwandans arrested by Rwanda Investigations Bureau (RIB) in connection with the saga seem to have been cleared and released. They were not charged.
The Kenyans and Rwandan through their lawyer Evode Kayitana are also seeking bail.
Prosecutors told the Kagarama Primary Court in Kicukiro that the suspects are a national security threat and cannot be left free.
For example, prosecution says the phone of one of the Kenyans shows that they were in constant contact with another person in Tanzania. It is this person that prosecutors are still investigating, and that releasing the suspects will jeopardise the probe.
Defense attorny Kayitana, who describes his clients are “good samaritans” who had come to help Rwandans, vehemently dismissed the charges. He says for the organisers of the ‘Wealth Cenference’ asking for entrance fee is not illegal.
He said: “Yesterday people paid to watch Rayon Sports playing against TP Mazembe, how much did it benefit the attendees? These people are not incurring any loss from paying to watch games. Isnt it equally normal to pay entrance to [Convention Center] to learn how they could escape poverty.”
Lawyer Kayitana compared entrance fee, paid by the more than 6,000 victimes on the fateful day, to revellers paying to attend concert of Jay Polly, a local singer.
Prosecution estimates that key suspect Dr Kinuthia Charles and his team collected up to Rwf27m paid by about 2500 people.
The Rwandan suspect Niyonkuru is the one who had the SIM card where people paid via phone cash transfers. Niyonkuru also recieved Rwf 1.1m from suspect Rachel Matipei to book the venue.
However, the defense says not more than Rwf2m was collected.
The other information The Chronicles has obtained shows that the organisers paid Rwf 4m for the venue.
Meanwhile, Dr Kinuthia is said to be PhD holder, but no details are available on his field of study. Journalists were not allowed to take pictures.
If convicted, they each risk up to 3years in jail and Rwf 7m fines.
Court will decide on the bail this Thursday July 11 at 3pm.
More details about the saga here: