A Rwandan prosecutor on Friday asked for five years jail term and heavy fines equivalent to 920,000 USD on former Rwandan Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremyi who was charged with issuing rubber cheques.Dr Habumuremyi, a key figure of the Rwandan government between October 2011 and July 2014 has always pleaded not guilty.
He was arrested ein July this year, a few days after his university, the Christian University of Rwanda (CHUR) was closed by the Ministry of Education.
He is said to have accumulated hundreds of millions of francs in debts to different suppliers to the University that was at the time of its closure operating two campuses, one in Kigali and another one in Karongi, a district in Western Rwanda.
During the previous hearing, the defence team told the court that their client has a “heart condition” and putting him in jail could harm his health.
However, the prosecution argued that his health condition shouldn’t be a point for his release on bail since medical treatment is also offered to detainees.
According to the Prosecutor, Dr Habumuremyi had confessed that he issued checks to creditors being well aware that there wasn’t enough money on his bank accounts.
On 30 May 2019, Habumuremyi issued a rubber cheque for Rwf28 million; and on 30 November, he issued another cheque for Rwf38 million.
On 4 March, 2020, he issued a rubber cheque for Rwf17.5 million, and on 30 June 2020 he issued another cheque for Rwf10.7 million.
According to judicial reports, Dr Habumuremyi was on several occasions summoned by different entities, advising him to address the issues he had with his creditors and stop the habit of issuing dud cheques but this persisted.
Before his arrest, Dr Habumuremyi served as chairperson of the Chancellery for Heroes, National Orders and Decorations of Honour (CHENO) until 2019.