Africa

Rwandan president pardons convicted ex-prime minister

Pierre Damien Habumuremyi sentenced to 3 years in prison in November 2020 for issuing bounced cheques

James Tasamba   | 14.10.2021
Rwandan president pardons convicted ex-prime minister

KIGALI, Rwanda

Rwandan President Paul Kagame has granted clemency to the country's former prime minister, who was sentenced to three years in prison last year for issuing bounced cheques, the government said on Thursday.

A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said Pierre Damien Habumuremyi was pardoned "under the presidential prerogative of mercy."

In November 2020, a Kigali court in the capital Kigali found Habumuremyi guilty of issuing bounced cheques totaling 100 million Rwandan francs (about $104,000) to suppliers of his now-defunct Christian University of Rwanda.

He was additionally fined 892.2 million Rwandan francs (about $926,000) by the court.

Habumuremyi was pardoned for the rest of his prison sentence and the fine imposed by the court, but he will still have to pay off all of his creditors, a Justice Ministry official told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity as he is not authorized to speak to the media.

Habumuremyi, 60, served as Rwanda's prime minister between 2011 and 2014.

He issued the cheques between 2018 and 2019 when he was the university rector.

He was convicted of issuing bounced checks but acquitted of breach of trust charges after the "prosecution failed to provide sufficient evidence."

Habumuremyi, who is now a free man, rejected the charges throughout his trial, claiming that the cheques were merely a guarantee and that he would settle the bill once he was set free.

His university, which was opened in Kigali in 2017, was shut down by the Education Ministry last year for failing to meet the minimum operating standards.

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