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Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Rwanda: High Court Clerk Gets Five Years Over Corruption

Kigali - A former clerk in the High Court, Jean Damascene Gashumba has been sentenced to five years in prison after being found guilty of corruption.

The decision was pronounced Wednesday by Nyarugenge High Instance magistrate Saouda Murererehe. Gashumba was arrested on June 24 after receiving Rwf40,000 to 'fix' a closer date of hearing in one of the cases filed at the court. "Court, after thoroughly examining the case, finds Gashumba guilty of corruption and hence sentences him to five years in prison," Murererehe ruled.

"We analysed the evidence he gave us to prove his innocence but all his arguments were not convincing." According to prosecution, a lady identified as Betty Mukamusoni bribed Gashumba to arrange a closer trial date for her brother.

During the trial, Gashumba had pleaded with court saying he was framed, insisting that he did not know anything about the money that was planted in his laptop bag. By press time, it was not clear whether Gashumba would appeal against the ruling.

Meanwhile, the same court heard the case of incarcerated city lawyer Olivier Muhizi, who is also accused of having tried to bribe a judge to pass a ruling in the favour of his client.

The same judge adjourned Muhizi's ruling to a later date after some complexities arose in the case that she said will require court to carry out its own investigations.

Muhizi was arrested last month as he tried to hand $2000 to Janvier Muhire, a magistrate in Kagarama Lower instance court in a case involving someone claiming the rights to his father'sproperty.

"On July 21, we are going to carry out our own investigations because we have identified unclear elements in this case, the verdict is therefore postponed to August 3," Murererehe ruled.

Muhizi had claimed during the trial to have been framed, saying the money he was giving to the judge was a 'loan' as a friend.

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