Rwanda: Standards Board Official Denies Graft Charges, Claims Attempted Fraud

The Kicukiro Primary Court on Thursday, November 9 started the bail hearing of Valens Uwitonze, a technical assistance specialist at the Rwanda Standard Board (RSB), and his co-accused, John Manzi.

Uwitonze is accused of soliciting and accepting bribes, while Manzi is charged as an accomplice in corruption and using forged documents.

During the bail hearing, the prosecution pointed out that Manzi during his time as an employee at Steel Giant Ltd, forged a quality certificate (S-Mark) when their factory lacked it after they won a tender.

The prosecution added that, after Manzi left, the company informed Uwitonze about the document, which he used to demand money from the factory owner.

The prosecution claims that Uwitonze initially requested Rwf 36 million but later negotiated down to Rwf 25 million, and later he was apprehended receiving an advance of Rwf 15 million.

As a result, the prosecution requested their remand pending trial in substance, arguing that there are reasonable grounds to suspect that they committed the crimes they are being accused and the investigation is still ongoing among other reasons.

Both defendants pleaded not guilty, with Uwitonze denying soliciting the bribe, claiming he only threatened the owner to give him money. His lawyer argued for a change in the charges to attempted fraud, emphasizing that Uwitonze never received any money and that, offering the certificate was not under his responsibilities.

Manzi also denied forging documents, placing the blame on his boss. Both defendants requested for bail, and the court is set to pass the ruling on November 14.


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