Rwanda issues arrest warrant for former envoy

Tuesday July 28 2015

Rwanda has through Interpol issued a warrant of arrest for its former envoy who fled into exile in March this year amid allegations of embezzlement of party funds.

Protais Mitali, who previously headed the Liberal Party, one of Rwanda’s oldest political parties, is wanted by Interpol on charges of ‘embezzlement and theft’, an arrest warrant published on its website on Tuesday says.

Mr Mitali is a former ambassador to Ethiopia and the African Union.

According to the warrant “Mitali Kabanda Protais is wanted by the judicial authorities of Rwanda for prosecution/to serve a sentence” on charges of embezzlement and theft.

Five months ago, he fled to Europe after he was summoned to Rwanda by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from his Ethiopian mission, to answer allegations of missing party funds.

Mr Mitali, who prior to his ambassadorial appointment was the Minister of Sports and Culture, reportedly took a flight to a European destination instead of reporting back to Kigali on April 4, as expected.


The former diplomat was subsequently dismissed by his political party in May.

While his whereabouts remain unknown, a close relative who spoke to The EastAfrican on condition of anonymity claimed that Mr Mitali was a victim of “political persecution.”

Mr Mitali fled into exile soon after he was sacked by the government and ordered to return home to sort out the mess in the party.

READ: Party funds go missing as former envoy flees

According to the Liberal Party, Mr Mitali allegedly embezzled Rwf63 million ($0.09 million) from the party’s account which he reportedly agreed to pay back after an audit revealed the missing funds.

He resigned from the party’s presidency and was subsequently denounced from the party during the congress which convened on May 3.

The 52-year old politician, who is purported to be in Belgium, is yet to speak out publicly on his troubles.

In April, Liberal Party said that Mr Mitali’s woes had nothing to do with politics but rather it was a result of financial mismanagement.

Efforts to reach Donatille Mukabalisa, the speaker of parliament and current party leader were futile.

The party, which was founded in July 1991 by senior politicians who had disagreed with the government, is considered the third largest in the country after the Social Democratic Party (PSD) and the ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF Inkotanyi).