Twelve former pastors and officials of the Pentecostal Church of Rwanda (ADEPR) are appearing this Thursday and Friday in an appeals court which could see them either repaying billions or going to jail.
The state dragged the 12 people to court for stealing up to Rwf3.3billion collected from ADEPR followers meant to pay back a loan the church acquired from the Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD). The loan was for building DOVE Hotel located in Gisozi in Kigali.
However, these top leaders did not pay the BRD loan of Rwf2.1b, and the collected money is not on the church’s accounts: where did it go?
As has been reported, 10 of the most senior suspects were acquitted, due to what the current ADEPR bishops say was a badly handled case. The state prosecution bungled the case leading to the acquittals.
Now, in the appeals filed jointly by the church and the state, ADEPR wants the 12 accused to be forced to pay back Rwf 5,647,871,250.
This money includes, Rwf 2,309,468,293 which ADEPR is paying to BRD bank for the loan and the rest as payment to the lawyers handling the case.
For starters, ADEPR has been a church embroiled in controversy after another. Government, on its part, including President Paul Kagame himself, has intervened to wade off bitter fights, which also turned ethnic, among ADEPR top leaders.
ADEPR has over 2m followers, with a church in every corner of Rwanda, despite being a few decades old.
The appeals case was supposed to be heard on September 13, but was moved to October 3 and 4.
However, already, as reported earlier, the lawyers representing the church have been crying fowl accusing the prosecutor general Jean Bosco Mutangana of deliberately trying to undermine his own case.