June 6, 2020

Two Judges Jailed for Taking Bribes from Suspects

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Two judges and a court registrar in southern Rwanda have been jailed for up to eight years after rendering favorable rulings for people who had given them bribes.

Those jailed are Muhanga district intermediate court judges Mubabotwaza Munyeshyaka and Mushimiyiryo Pacifique, and court registrar Banashenge Victoire.

In the charge sheet, the prosecution alleged that Banashenge sought and received a bribe of Rwf 1m from person is a case promising to give case to a favourable judge. That is what she did exactly, by linking the suspect with judge Mugabutwaza.

This judge Mugabutwaza also received an additional Rwf 600,000 bribe from the same person in question. As a result, the case was ruled in favour of the petitioner after bribing the judge and court registrar. The case happened in March 2018.

However, the suspect in the cause filed an appeal in the High Court in Nyanza district, which quashed the earlier ruling. The bribes the judge in lower court and registrar became useless because the person who paid them had lost on appeal level.

As for the other judge Mushimiyiryo Pacifique, state prosecution had told the intermediate court that in October 2018, he ruled a case in favour of a person who had given him Rwf 500,000 bribe.

The loser in the case filed an appeal to the High Court in Nyanza, which also quashed the verdict.

In its verdict on Friday, the Intermediate Court of Muhanga ruled that the three are guilty and sent them ro jail.

The two judges were sentenced to 8 years as well as Rwf 3m and Rwf 2.5 respectively. The registrar Banashenge will serve 3years and Rwf 500,000 fine.

However, Yaramba Rahara Athanase, president of the Muhanga district intermediate court where the 3 judicial officials were attached, was cleared of any wrongdoing.

He had been facing charges for not taking action against his colleagues and suspected to have been accomplice in the bribery. It was determined he didn’t know of the bribery schemes.

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