June 27, 2020

Court Frees Key Suspect in Theft of U$408,000 RDB Tourism Revenue


Nicholas Kaganzi

A low-level official accused of stealing millions of Francs from the coffers of the Rwanda Development Board’s (RDB) tourism revenue account, was surprisingly set free by a court.

The information about the released suspected was revealed this Friday by President Paul Kagame at a ruling RPF party executive committee meeting. Kagame said he ordered for the suspect Nicholas Kaganzi to be rearrested, according to Taarifa.

The Chronicles first published details about the case on May 17 in story “More Than Rwf 360m Stolen from RDB Tourism Revenue“.

At the time, there was swift reaction from RDB and its CEO Clare Akamanzi who wrote on Twitter: “How misleading! I am being quoted about things that sound strange to me. Next time talk to me before publishing. Also- let @RIB_Rw and Courts conclude investigations and prosecution of those detained.”

It emerged at the RPF meeting that indeed, Kaganzi was working for Rwanda Online Platform Ltd, which was in charge of collecting money paid by tourists intending to visit parks. During that time in 2018, the payments were still manual.

It is alleged Kaganzi stole the U$408,000 cash (Rwf 368m today). According to Kagame in his narration to the RPF meeting, Kaganzi fled to Uganda, and changed his names. He was tracked down and brought back to Rwanda, said Kagame, as reported by Taarifa.

While here, his case was sent to the courts, which granted him bail. President Kagame said was informed of the release, and he ordered for the suspect to be rearrested.

However, at that time, he was advised by the Police Chief that rearresting the suspect on bail would tantamount to contempt of the court’s ruling.

In his wide ranging speech, Kagame accused the judiciary of being the weak link in the country’s fight against corruption, and demanded action from Justice Minister Johnston Busingye who was in the meeting.

“I now have a problem with the court,” Kagame said, adding, “We shall see who will win the case.”

“When you are a thief, it doesn’t matter where you come from, but I know where you belong; prison,” Kagame said.

Nicholas Kaganzi
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