The pronunciation for a trial involving the government’s prosecution, and former managers of Sacco Dukire Ndego, which was finally concluded at the ninth time, has been adjourned. The trial was concluded on April 16, 2018, by the judge Emmanuel Rwenyaguza, who announced that it will be pronounced on May 10, 2018. Unexpectedly, the pronunciation was postponed to May 29, 2018. This conclusion did not come to the satisfaction of people from Ndego whom are among plaintifs.
The trial hearing happened nine times. In the seat of the intermediate court of Ngoma, Jean Paul Nzabonimpa, former credit agent and Simon Pierre Habyarimana former manager of Sacco Dukire Ndego, in a joint trial both are accused by the prosecution of embezzlement or destruction of property, forging or alteration of documents and counterfeit by public servant. They were jailed last year of 2017 in November on the request issued by Rwanda Cooperative Agency (RCA), following the audit that showed the loss of 8 million Rwandan francs from Sacco Dukire Ndego.
People from Ndego don’t catch up. Simon Ndengeye (whose names were changed) does not understand how a judge can take more than a month to make a decision on a trial that is already concluded. Other issue is that the judge programs the pronunciation in afternoon and end up not being on time, this result in postponing. As it was said by Théogene Nizeyimana, one among Ndego customer, the judge is making it difficult for them, for a trial that has longed that much time, it cost them a lot of money that they will finally not be able to follow up.
The court seated the first time for this trial on January 10, 2018. Plaintiffs, Rwanda prosecution and two civil parties were involved in this trial; these are Sacco Dukire Ndego and 10 residents of Ndego sector and clients of Sacco Dukire Ndego. They accuse two former managers of Sacco Dukire Ndego of having stolen their money as they cleared loans they acquired from Sacco, only to find out later that their payments were not recognized.
As some of customers are illiterate, the Sacco officers had befriended them and would use their bank’s books to acquire the loans and forged their signatures out of their knowledge. The main issue that made the trial too long is what the accused claimed to be the procedure of getting loan; customers argue to mortgage their original land documents, which they get back after paying that loan.
The accused denied all charges. Nzabonimpa told the court that all those people accusing them have never given their documents in first place; he said that at the time, internal rules of Sacco Dukire Ndego were to give loans without land document as guarantee. The issue that brought the judge to the conclusion of going to the field, to get the truth about procedure of getting loan in Sacco Dukire Ndego.
The acting Manager, Francine Uwamariya told the judge that “they never gave loan without mortgage, in original land document, given back to the owner just after loan payment”. This is also confirmed by the regulations of National bank of Rwanda about loan in Sacco of 2012, where it says that none might get the loan without original land document as guarantee.
Nyirimirera Leonidas is a resident of Ndego sector, he told the judge on field that he got the loan of one million Rwandan francs and give original land document as guarantee; he paid the entire loan and got back the document.
For the ninth seat of the court on April 16, 2018, the court heard all witness in this trial, and both accused together with their legal assistants defended themselves. The court also heard the biddings of all parties involved in the trial.
The prosecution, requested for the charges to be acknowledged by the court as valid, and considering the article 84 of Rwandan penal code, about combined charges, requested for the accused 15 years of imprisonment and a court fine of around 27 million Rwandan francs each. The prosecution requested also for the restitution to be given to those who reclaimed it.
The civil parties, 10 clients of Sacco Dukire Ndego reclaimed to the accused, if ever they are found guilt, the indemnities of about 60 million Rwandan francs, and the Sacco legal representatives reclaimed for each of accused 7 million including the payment of lawyers, and reimbursement of court fee.
The court concluded the trial on April 16th, 2018 after nine hearings, the judgment were supposed to be pronounced on May 10, 2018, but it was postponed to May 29, 2018.
Francine Andrew Mukase