Court to rule on Kabuga case

July 31, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, July 31 – The High Court will give directions on Friday on whether a case filed by Rwandan fugitive Felicien Kabuga’s wife, would be given priority over another filed by the Attorney General in May.

High Court Judge Justice Muga Apondi is expected to give the ruling on Friday morning.

Josephine Mukazitoni, through her lawyer, Otachi Bw’Omanwa, claims that the issue of jurisdiction stated in their case must be prioritised as it goes to the root of the application filed by the Attorney General.

Bw’Omanwa argues that despite the urgency of the matter, his application should not be put together with that of the AG.

The lawyer said he was opposed to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Keriako Tobiko’s idea to subordinate his preliminary objection, and give precedence to the application filed by the AG to freeze assets belonging to Kabuga in Nairobi’s Hurlingham area.

Mukazitoni, whose whereabouts remain anonymous, is challenging the court’s decision to freeze a property, identified as Spanish Villa, along Lenana road.

The spouse alleges that she has been denied her only source of livelihood, and her rights to own property violated.

She further claims that the court has no jurisdiction to deal with the matter, which is already before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and has filed an objection.

“Clearly, we should deal with that issue of jurisdiction and competence of the application, that is, whether this suit is properly before this court,” Bw’Omanwa argued.

“We cannot go on and mix facts with the law,” he quipped.

But the DPP insisted that issues of law raised in the application filed by Mukazitoni are related to the AG’s application and should be argued together.

He stated that consolidating the case would ensure it is disposed of without undue delay.

“The best way forward, my lord, is to order that their (Mukazitoni’s) preliminary objection be treated as grounds of opposition to our application and be argued together,” Tobiko said.

Kabuga is wanted for genocide and other crimes against humanity and the US has placed a $5 million (over Sh300 million) bounty on his head.

He is said to have been the key financier in the 1994 Rwanda Genocide, in which over 800,000 people were killed.

It is believed that proceeds from rental income from the Villa are wired to Belgium’s Banque De La Poste in the name of his wife, and are being used by Kabuga to evade capture and avoid justice.

The Villa is allegedly under the management of the Kenya Trust Company, whose physical location has not been established to date.


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