Rwanda: Former Minister Munyakazi sentenced to 10 years in jail

Mamos Media

By Lavie Mutanganshuro

The Nyarugenge Intermediate Court on Friday, October 16, sentenced Dr. Isaac Munyakazi to a 10-year imprisonment and a fine of Rwf10 million over accomplice and abuse of functions.

Before resigning in February, Munyakazi was the State Minister in charge of Primary and Secondary Education in the Ministry of Education.

The Court also gave his co-accused Abdu Gahima a sentence of 5-years in jail and a fine of Rwf1.5 million after convicting him of corruption.

Gahima is a local businessman and owner of Good Harvest School located in Kicukiro District.

Both convicts and their lawyers were absent at the hearing.

The duo, according to information provided by the prosecution last month, are linked to a case of Good Harvest School that was in 2019 illegitimately ranked among the top 10 performing schools in the national examinations.

Munyakazi who admitted to being a close friend of Gahima is said to have used his position to influence Alphonse Sebaganwa, the Head of Examinations, Selection and Assessment Department at Rwanda Education Board (REB), to rank the school in top ten best performing schools in last year’s national examinations.

Announcing the verdict, the presiding judge said that the prosecution’s allegations had grounds, especially on the fact that the duo informally met with Sebaganwa at different occasions and had a specific intention linked to corruption claims.

The Court also emphasized that Munyakazi was well aware of the corruption intentions and did not report to Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB), therefore being convicted of accomplice and abuse of functions.

“The illegal ranking happened and as a matter of fact, REB announced that they was fraud in the ranking, and issued a new ranking that ranked Good Harvest School 143th from 9th. Gahima and his school did not contest the decision by REB in any way,” the judge added.

On top of the irregularities in ranking, according to the prosecution, two students from the school were given wrong grades and one of them ranked 7th in the country, yet they should have been 611th.

The other who was ranked 9th should have been 229th. 

How it all happened

Court heard that in January, Munyakazi, Gahima and Sebaganwa met at Khana Kazana — a high-end Indian Restaurant in Nyarutarama. 

According to the prosecution, the meeting was held to reward Sebaganwa for elevating the school’s rankings which had been released on December 31, 2019.

During the meeting, court heard, Gahima requested Sebaganwa for his car keys, went to the parking, and put an envelope containing Rwf500,000 cash in the car. 

After finding money, Sebaganwa recorded a statement with the Rwanda Investigation Bureau. 

Why was Sebaganwa not taken to court as well?

While appearing before court for their substantive trial last month, Munyakazi and Gahima requested that Sebaganwa should also be brought to court, due to the fact that the case against them is built around him and that his name was continuously being mentioned during the hearing.

On this request, the judge on Friday said that it was the right of the prosecution to charge Sebaganwa or not.

The prosecution had previously said that there was no reason to take Sebaganwa to court because he reported the case to RIB after it happened, and gave the testimony of what happened to prosecution.

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