Over the Weekend, the ex-governor of Eastern Province Emmanuel Gasana was seen in pictures attending a wedding, despite the fact that he is expected to be in prison on remand for charges related to bribery.
In November, Gasana was apprehended by investigators and has since been going through various judicial processes on counts of soliciting and accepting illegal benefits in exchange for favours, and abuse of office.
Gasana is said to have committed the crimes in 2022 when he allegedly received free irrigation services and infrastructure worth Rwf48 million from an investor who was looking to expand his irrigation project to parts of the Province that Gasana led. After being arraigned in court, judges at the primary court of Nyagatare subsequently sent him to a 30-day detention as investigations into the case continue.
Speaking to The New Times, on Friday, December 22, Rafiki Kabanguka, the Spokesperson of the Rwanda Correctional Services (RCS), said Gasana’s release is “not a pardon” but rather temporary permission as provided for by the law.
Kabanguka said: “He was neither released nor granted pardon. The rumours out there or what people are saying is not true.
“What actually happened is that he was given permission (to go out of the correctional facility) as provided for by the law. People are given such permission for purposes like burial” he noted, indicating that it is not the first time such permission is given to someone.
The 2022 law governing correctional services spells out the conditions under which someone can go out of a correctional facility.
Article 27 states that an incarcerated person is allowed to go out of a correctional facility for one of the following reasons: to appear before court; to seek medical treatment; to carry out works approved by the administration of the correctional facility; when he or she is summoned by a competent governmental organ; and, or, “any other reason not contrary to the standard operating procedures of the organ as approved by the administration of [the] correctional facility.”
“The administration of a correctional facility provides enough correctional officers to escort incarcerated persons allowed to go out of the correctional facility.”
The Nyagatare Intermediate Court, on November 27, upheld the decision to remand the former Eastern Province governor.
Gasana’s 30-day remand, pending trial on allegations of soliciting and accepting illegal benefits alongside accusations of abuse of office, was validated by the court’s ruling, affirming the lower court’s stance.
Gasana had appealed the lower court’s ruling, citing insufficient evidence from the investigation and highlighting his health issues–diabetes, hypertension, and cholesterol–arguing that imprisonment posed a grave risk to his life. The defense emphasized the lower court’s rejection of proposed sureties.
The charges against Gasana stem from allegations of coercing a businessman contracted for irrigation work across the province, including Gasana’s farm, leading to expenses of Rwf48m. Prosecutors allege that the irrigation facility supplied to Gasana’s plantation was a bribe aimed at influencing him to advocate for the contractor to expand services in various districts.
Gasana, however, pleaded not guilty, asserting that he received free services due to his farm’s proximity to an electricity line and a water source. He argued that this proximity allowed water to be easily provided to neighboring residents facing water shortages. Gasana later claimed that the contractor was arrested for failing to deliver promised services to people in two sectors of Ngoma District.
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Publish date : 2023-12-22 14:51:44