Col Jeannot Ruhunga said this on February 7, 2020, during a consultative meeting on the overview of the status of the different forms of corruption in Rwanda, which also tackled challenges and way forward.
The session was organised by Rwanda Parliament through the African Parliamentarians Network against Corruption – Rwanda (APNAC-Rwanda).
According to information from the Inspectorate General of Courts, apart from the four judges, one registrar was also imprisoned over corruption in the past three months.
The unprecedented move came after the Inspectorate General of Courts started taking rigorous measures to stem corruption in court cases.
“For the first time, since this judicial year (2019/2020), four judges have been jailed over corruption, and evidence is available,” Ruhunga said.
The current Judicial Year was opened in on November 4 2019.
“That was possible because an inspection of the courts discovered it and testimonies were given about it. This got people by surprise because they normally knew that no judge would be jailed,” he said.
He stated that RIB has a statute that allows it to kick out officers (its investigators) once investigation links them to corruption.
“For instance, in only two years, we (RIB) have dismissed 26 investigators over corruption. None of them was sentenced by the courts [though]; they released them because of judicial process,” he said.
He said that the judicial procedure will remain, but stressed that there is a need to put in place a mechanism to take administrative sanctions against a person suspected of corruption.
“If an investigator removes crucial facts from a suspect’s case, later takes it to prosecution, and the prosecution releases the suspect [because of lack of sufficient evidence], then we monitor the situation and find that he/she took out that evidence… that is enough for us to conclude that the investigator did it because they received a bribe,” he said.
“Therefore, we take disciplinary measures against them,” observed said.
Last year’s Citizen Report Card 2019 by Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) indicated that 11 percent of Rwandans said there is corruption in courts, while 2.8 percent of them expressed that there is corruption in Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB).
In Courts, Chief Ombudsman Anastase Murekezi said, corruption in the judiciary is sometimes a form of a chain that may involve lawyers and registrars before it can get to the judge.
“That is a network which is difficult to break because when a legal officer is arrested for corruption, his/her colleagues stand up in their defence saying that they are being wrongly accused. Yet, there is evidence,” he said.
Source: The New Times