March 15, 2020

Court Dismisses Government Property Valuer In Corruption Case

This is the house at the center of the valuation battle between owner and Ombudsman. (PHOTO by UMUSEKE)

A court in Kigali has dismissed a property valuation provided by Office of the Ombudsman in corruption case against former local official in southern Province.

Higiro Jean Baptiste was officer in charge tenders in Nyamagabe district before his dismissal and prosecution in 2018. He has been in prison ever since, but his case has been dragging on.

Government’s charge sheet is that he acquired the property he owns, specifically a house built in Huye district, fraudulently.

The Ombudsman provided to court a valuation of this incomplete house as costing Rwf 49.5m ($52,000). However, the accused Higiro in his submission says the house is Rwf 20m.

Higiro said the house is built in a rural area, and used rukarakara bricks (small bricks) which are cheaper. Also, the accused says he acquired the house before he became the tenders officer at Nyamagabe district.

In ruling on the Ombudsman’s valuation for the house, the Kigali upper on Friday court dismissed the submission in favour of the accused. The court said Higiro will provide his own valuation and the court will also name a court appointed valuer.

The case continues April 17.

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