The Nyarugenge Intermediate Court has affirmed the lower court’s decision granting bail to Jean-Bosco Harelimana, the former Director-General of Rwanda Cooperative Agency (RCA), and his co-accused, Claver Hakizimana, the procurement officer at RCA, and Liliane Gahongayire, a former logistics officer at the agency.
The trio faces charges related to the violation of public tender procedures and the misuse of public resources.
The prosecution had appealed the lower court’s decision, arguing that critical evidence was overlooked and that investigation was prematurely considered complete among other reasons.
During the appeal ruling, on November 9, the presiding judge stated that the prosecution failed to explain how once released the defendants would interfere with the defendants with the investigation process.
The court additionally observed the defendants’ consistent compliance with orders, leading to the conclusion that their detention was unnecessary.
Therefore, the court ruled to grant them bail pending the trial in substance.
The prosecution on appeal had contested the lower court’s decision on multiple grounds.
Regarding Harelimana, they argued that the lower court had dismissed an audio recording submitted as evidence, where Harelimana purportedly claimed to have authority to hire and fire anyone in the institution.
The lower court had deemed the recording inadmissible because it was allegedly obtained without consent.
The prosecution also challenged the consideration of only audio evidence about the charge of influence peddling, asserting that other factors implicating Harelimana were disregarded.
Concerning Hakizimana, the prosecution claimed that the lower court overlooked evidence linking him to the crimes for which he was prosecuted.
In Gahongayire’s case, they argued against her dismissal as a suspect, contending that her signing of a delivery note for unreceived items led to improper payments by RCA.
The prosecution had requested the court to remand the suspects for further investigation. However, the defendants pleaded not guilty, stating their cooperation with reporting obligations. They argued that bail conditions, such as restricted travel beyond Kigali, were being adhered to.