Bamporiki woes sends panic among leaders as court hands him extra one year in appeal
Saturday February 11 2023
The fall from grace to grass of former state minister Edouard Bamporiki has sent panic among top leaders in the country when high court sentenced him to five-year jail term and a fine of Rwf30 million.
The once-revered figure, who was widely regarded as a powerful influencer to the youth and a prominent member of the cabinet was found guilty of corruption charges.
On Monday, a Kigali court handed the ex-state minister in charge of culture in the Ministry of Youth and Culture the sentence in an appeal that was lodged by him and prosecution over a sentence of a four-year prison term and Rwf60 million fine.
This verdict comes after Mr. Bamporiki, a staunch supporter of the ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front, was suspended from his duties and placed under house arrest for three months in May of last year, leading up to his trial in September.
The charges against him included soliciting and receiving a bribe, as well as abusing his authority to advance selfish interests.
The prosecution claimed that he had accepted a bribe of Rwf5 million from businessman Norbert Gatera, in exchange for using his influence to help reopen Gatera's brewery, despite it not meeting the requirements. Mr. Bamporiki, however, maintained that the money was a gift from him as a friend.
During the trial, prosecutors presented evidence that Mr. Bamporiki had coerced subordinates, including the Vice
Mayor of Kigali, to act by his wishes. This caused a stir in the public, with many expressing disappointments in such a highly regarded official, while some
sympathized with him.
Responding to Mr. Bamporiki’s apology, President Kagame weighed in on the matter, tweeting in May,
"Don't repeat what you did wrong. Don't always be wrong and always ask for forgiveness! This is the case with Bamporiki. There are others like that. Everyone commits offenses but it is possible to avoid them. Punishment helps too.”
Expectations of a more lenient punishment had been high given the precedent set by similar cases involving top government officials.