Former Prime Minister Dr. Pierre Damien Habumuremyi, who is facing charges of ‘bleach of trust’ and issuance of ‘unsecured cheques’, is not likely to see the light out of a detention facility any time soon due to prosecution’s fear of his perceived ability to temper with investigations.
The Prosecutor General (PG), Aimable Havugiyaremye, said on Tuesday evening that the former Prime Minister was denied bail because of his ‘influence’.
The PG told journalists that Dr. Habumuremyi would have qualified for bail as a matter of principle, but the nature of his case prevented the court from offering him the lawful right to facing justice while out of detention.
Dr. Habumuremyi is being charged with issuing bouncing cheques worth over Rwf200 million. At first, when he was arrested and detained, his file amounted to about Rwf100 million.
Later, when he was detained, some of his creditors who were afraid of suing a “former prime minister’, began showing up with claims of him defaulting and issuing them bouncing cheques.
As investigations continued, Dr. Habumuremyi was found to be owing over Rwf1.5 billion in arrears to suppliers of his Christian University of Rwanda.
The Prosecutor General said the former Primer could not even provide a guarantee to secure his release because all his other properties are indebted mainly with banks as collaterals against loans.
The prosecution had no choice but to request the court to deny him bail because he could show the ability to pay off his debts and due to his influence, he would jeopardize further investigations that are ongoing.
Havugiyaremye discredited those who sympathize with Dr. Habumuremyi saying that, “no one is above the law in Rwanda,” even though he is the former Prime Minister.
Criminal liability is personal, according to article 17 of the constitution, and provides that civil liability be determined by law.
In the same article, no one should be imprisoned on the ground of inability to fulfill obligations arising from civil or commercial laws. This, according to legal experts, is subject to interpretation.
Dr. Habumuremyi was arrested on July 3, and the prosecution says he allegedly committed the crimes between 2018 and 2019 in his capacity as a rector and owner of the university.
His university has been closed due to the inability to secure all requirements to operate after failing to mobilize enough resources to meet the required standards of a full university.
Meanwhile, according to the 2019 Foreign Private Capital (FPC) report, Rwanda’s average Return on Equity (ROE) is 13.2%, higher than the world’s profitability of 6%, however, education as a sector performs lower than 3%, and in some years it has been performing in negative.
The education sector is not only capital intense, but it is also interactive because of structural obstacles.
The manufacturing sector, for example, earned an impressive 8.95% in 2018 and averaged 21.1% between 2013 and 2018, but education earned -12.6% in the same period and having registered negatives from 2014 to 2017 save for 2018 when the sector earned a paltry 2.8% in 2018.
Unless Dr. Habumuremyi had a magic stick, otherwise his university was bound to get hit nevertheless, even though the phenomenon doesn’t exonerate him from the alleged criminal liabilities.