Rwandan environmental body chief appears in court over corruption charges

EMBATTLED: Dr. Rose Mukankomeje is facing corruption charges.

EMBATTLED: Dr. Rose Mukankomeje is facing corruption charges.

Rwanda’s top environment expert and Director General of Rwanda Environment Management Agency (REMA), Dr. Rose Mukankomeje who was arrested earlier this month has officially been charged with corruption, in a Court in Nyarugenge, a Kigali city suburb.

Prosecution told Court on Monday that the accused who is jointly charged with former officials of Rutsiro district allegedly embezzled funds meant for the district hotel project.

Rwanda National Prosecution spokesman, Faustin Nkusi said that Mukankomeje is currently being charged under penal code article 283 and 571- for illegally disclosing government information and obstructing justice in the criminal investigation proceedings.

“For each of the two penal codes, Mukankomeje stands a chance of being sentenced to six years in prison , or pay a fine of between Rwf1million to seven million (article 283); and between one to three years in jail or fined between Rwf300.000 and Rwf1million in fine (article 571),” Nkusi said.

The prosecution office also stated that prosecutors in this case have provided the accused with a lawyer and will finalize with the compilation of the full and complete case file of the charges by the end of this week and while the initial trial date will be communicated on notice.

Dr. Mukankomeje has spearheaded the implementation some of the stiffest environmental policies in Rwanda, which include the elimination of polythene bags in the East African country.

She is the recipient of the 2013 United Nations Forum on Forests award and her arrest came on the same day when Rwanda joined the rest of the world to mark the international forests day.