No tax evasion charges for Rwanda's Rwigara family

Tuesday October 3 2017

Diane Rwigara

Ms Diane Rwigara. She is accused of forgery, tax evasion, treason, inciting public to insurrection and creating an illegitimate movement. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By IVAN R. MUGISHA
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The Rwanda Public Prosecution Authority excluded tax evasion from the charges levelled against former presidential aspirant Diane Rwigara or her family.

Prosecution spokesperson Faustin Nkusi, told The EastAfrican that Ms Rwigara, a prominent government critic, would be tried for forgery of documents and use of counterfeit signatures.

Previously, police had claimed the family owed the tax authority over $5.9 million (Rwf5 billion).

It was not yet clear why police did not include the tax evasion charge, as their spokesperson, Mr Theos Badege, was not available for comment by press time.

The Rwanda Revenue Authority was also Tuesday scheduled to shed more light on the tax evasion claim, but the press conference was cancelled abruptly.

Forgery charges levelled against Ms Rwigara attract five to seven years in jail, plus a fine of up to Rwf3 million ($3,534).

“Police sent the case file to our offices on 29th September 2017 last week. It did not include the tax evasion charge,” Mr Nkusi told The EastAfrican.

“Diane is charged with forging documents and counterfeiting signatures, Adeline Rwigara is charged with discrimination and sectarian practices, while all the three including Anne Rwigara, are charged with inciting public insurrection.

Discrimination and sectarian practices attract five to seven years in prison while inciting public insurrection attracts 10 to 15 years.

Mr Nkusi said that prosecution would request provisional detention pending court hearing of the case.

The court will be required by law to begin proceedings within 15 days from when they received the case file on Tuesday.

Diane Rwigara’s troubles began after she was disqualified from the August 4 presidential race. She had previously faced a series of arrests and charges, including causing state security, treason and divulging private information.

The 35-year-old accountant denied the charges in an interview with The EastAfrican before her arrest two weeks ago, and continues to call them “politically motivated”