Read in The New Times..
Officers from the Criminal Investigation Department
are investigating claims that a senior priest at
Saint Famille Catholic Church in Kigali allegedly
diverted money meant for
widows of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi.
A source from police told this newspaper yesterday
that Gratia Mukantagara, a former employee
of Saint Famille reported the priest, Remy Mvuyekure,
to CID on June 30.
According to Mukantagara, the money Rwf 8m
had been sent in her names to help members
of Swolodi, a local widows' project
operating under the church.
The money, according to documents seen
by The NewTimes came from Solwadi,
the major benefactor in Germany in 2007.
But the beneficiaries claim the way
the money was spent is questionable.
"There is nothing on the ground to show
that money was spent.
We need accountability,"
one of the beneficiaries who declined
to be named said on Monday.
Documents available indicate that money
was sent to help widows start
income generating projects.
According to Mukantagara, she learnt that
the money had come in 2007 after
the benefactors wrote to her
When she confronted Father Mvuyekure,
he reportedly admitted having received
the money but argued that it was meant
for the church not Mukantagara
as an individual.
According to Mukantagara, when she insisted
to know how the money was spent,
Father Mvuyekure reportedly fired her.
Sacked for doing a good job?
"I was sacked for doing a good job.
The money belonged to the widows but
the priest hijacked it.
We need justice," Mukantagara said.
The NewTimes has learnt that Mukantagara
appeared to CID offices on Wednesday last week
to substantiate her claims.
According to the source, after tendering in
documents indicting that the money
was sent in her names
to help the vulnerable, police reportedly
summoned the priest to respond to the claims.
When contacted yesterday,
Interpol Chief, Tony Kuramba confirmed
that CID was investigating the case
to find out to whom the money was sent.
"I asked the officers here to investigate and
get to the root cause of the matter.
Investigators' report is not yet out,
" Kuramba said by phone, adding
"we shall tell you what happened exactly.
"He said CID will also contact Solwodi officials
in Germany to find out who was supposed
to receive the money.
"We cannot at this stage say whether
the money belonged to Mukantagara or
to the church," Kuramba added.
Kuramba said he learnt about the case
because CID director, Christopher Bizimungu
was out of the country by the time
Mukantagara presented her case to police
and he had stood in for him.
Efforts to talk to Mvuyekure were futile as
his phone has been switched off
His Secretary said yesterday the priest
could no be reached for a comment
because he was in a retreat.
Documents seen by The NewTimes show that
in 2006, two members from Kindermission werk,
a charity organization
based in Germany visited Saint Famille.
The visitors included Judith Lamp and
Ndelheid Frohlich also members
of Kindermission werk.
While in Kigali, they were touched
by the plight of the widows and
needy children who needed to go to school.
Back to Germany, together with
Solwodi members, they mobilized
funds for the Kigali widows.
Documents obtained indicate
that the money was sent in 2007.
Other documents also show that
the benefactors wanted Mukantagara
to confirm whether
she received the money.
Kinder Missionwerk president
Bishop Pilz Winfried wrote in 2007,
saying accountability was highly necessary
if the beneficiaries needed more help.
But the rift between Father Mvuyekure
and Mukantagara took a new twist
when the former sacked her on June 18, 2007.
Mvuyekure said in the sacking letter that
she was fired for absconding from duty
Mukantagara wants the CID to investigate
the priest and explain where
he put the money.
Mvuyekure's alleged scam comes days
after leaders of Italia Solidale,
a local church-affiliated NGO
were dragged to court for allegedly
diverting money meant for orphans.
The leaders according to beneficiaries
pocketed about Rwf 3billion.
Italia Solidale had received funds from Italy
to help about 2000 orphans left vulnerable
by the 1994 Genocide against Tutsis.
But the leaders of this NGO
instead reportedly put the money
to their own use.
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