The Rwanda Investigations Bureau (RIB) found that the now infamous “wealth conference” scam organizers were also shocked to see such a large number of people had showed up.
As has been widely reported by The Chronicles, on the morning of June 25, up to 6,000 Rwandans, mainly youths, converged at the iconic Kigali International Convention Center. Some had ever only seen on it TV or heard about it on radio.
This multitude of people had come to attend a “Money, Business and Wealth Conference”. It had flashy posters all over the venue.
Now President Paul Kagame has finally weighed in the saga, saying it showed there was a serious problem with the country’s youth – who make up more than 70% of the population.
“Investigations have found that the organisers had planned for 500 people promising false riches, but instead at the Convention Center, 5,000 youth showed up,” said Kagame at a youth forum yesterday.
“And when the organizers realised that all these people were willing to pay, they laid their bags to collect the money. How can our youth be so naïve? Some had nothing and had borrowed the money to pay.”
Security personnel at the gate on the fateful day, overwhelmed, let everyone in. Amid the chaos, not sure what was going to happen, the Radisson Blu Hotel, which was paid Rwf4m for venue, called the police. RIB agents and their boss were on site in minutes.
Hours later, 14 Rwandans and 3 Kenyans were arrested – some from the venue and others like Dr Kinuthia in hotel room, by RIB agents.
More than two weeks later, all the Kenyans and one Rwandan were charged in court with fraud, holding illegal meeting and a host of other charges. The rest were freed.
Kagame said yesterday: “How can our youth be so naïve: to be so easily willing to fall for such scams of wealth they have not struggled for. An event of such a magnitude is organized, nobody is aware, and our young people enthusiastically rush to pay. There is a serious problem.”
Apart from key organizer Dr Charles Kinuthia, the others Kenyans charged are females: Vivian KHISA MUKWHAN and Rachel Matipei. The Rwandan national is Muhamad Niyonkuru, who is said to as have been the one that received early payments via his phone, as many paid using Mobile Money.
Kagame said the suspects included a Kenyan national he did not name as the prime organiser, and were all facing prosecution.
Commenting on a Twitter campaign that has been ongoing since Monday calling for release of the Kenyans, Kagame yesterday wondered whether social media had turned itself into the judge.