By The New Times
Prosecution on Friday requested court to slap a seven-year sentence and a fine of Rwf100 million against Alex Kanyankole, the former chief executive officer of Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD).
Kanyankole, who’s on trial at the Nyarugenge intermediate court, is accused of soliciting and receiving a bribe to act against the law, and favouritism.
Prosecution also wants a five-year sentence and a fine of Rwf100 million for Kanyankole’ co-accused, Juvénal Kalema, for corruption.
Kalema is a former senior manager in charge of agriculture investments at BRD.
Both men are accused of soliciting and receiving a bribe of between Rwf50 million and Rwf70 million to facilitate Good Harvest School to get access to a loan amounting to Rwf500 million.
The defendants rejected the charge, arguing that there was no proof of the alleged offence.
Kanyankole faces additional charge of favouritism, which explains why prosecution wants a more lengthy jail term for him.
Court heard that, in 2017, Kanyankole gave a fertilisers firm, Top Service, a loan worth $8 million (about Rwf7 billion), which it was supposed to pay back in six months. However, two years later, the company was yet to repay Rwf2 billion.
Kanyankole told court that the loan was used to import about 10,000 tonnes of fertilizer to improve farm productivity.
However, prosecution said BRD’s credit policy prescribes that any loan exceeding Rwf600 million should be approved by the board of directors, a procedure Kanyankole sidestepped in Top Service’s case.
Instead, Kanyankole rebuked members of staff in the loan department who wanted the loan in question to be subjected to standard procedure, prosecutors said.
In addition, prosecution also accused Kanyankole of nepotism in relation to another loan – over $3.4 million (about Rwf3 billion) that was given to Trust Industries. The Bugesera-based factory makes hygienic products, including soap and toilet paper.
Kanyankole said that financing the factory was part the bank’s mandate to support local enterprises to grow. However, he argued, the plant lacked raw materials such as oil and paper.
He said that after realising that the factory had a huge outstanding loan, the bank stopped advancing it more funds and instead helped it to get suppliers of the raw materials after a study showed that the intervention would help turn the firm’s fortunes around.
Kanyankole said that the decision was intended to prevent the factory from closing and to protect the bank’s interests as BRD had not only provided a loan of about Rwf10 billion to the company but also held a 25 per cent stake in the firm.
His lawyers, Emmanuel Rukangira, Godfrey Butare, and Alice Umulisa argued that their client was innocent and prayed for his acquittal.
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