Kangura No. 30

Theft Has Become Commonplace at the Bank of Kigali

The Kangura Editorial Board

I. For a certain time now there has been talk about theft in the Bank of Kigali. We can talk about the 48 million stolen in 1990, the 2.6 million in 1990 and the 5 million stolen the day before yesterday, including travelers’ checks…

Many people are asking questions. Is it because of the negligence of the officials of this bank? Why are the thieves not arrested and punished?

Up to this time, the investigations carried out have not yielded anything. That is why people are asking many questions, especially as this bank has lawyers who represent it in Court.

In this article, we shall limit ourselves to the 5 million that were recently stolen. This is our contribution, for those that are to carry out investigations so that the truth is known to all, since what is happening in the Bank of Kigali still remains a mystery.

II. 5 million Francs have thus been stolen at the Bank of Kigali. It was on 24 October 1991. How did it happen?

As is shown by the documents, the money was stolen by one Alphonse Kalisa; but these are fictitious names; his real name is Abraham Nshimilimana. He is of Burundian nationality. Although he is considered a refugee, his countrymen that know him well affirm that he is an ethnic Tutsi. He is a professional thief! The justice system knows that his countryman who works in the same bank, from whom he swindled a “Hiace” taxi vehicle, knows something about this. If we were to talk about his exploits, we would never have time enough.

Just remember that he stole this money just about two months after his release from jail (1930) thanks to the Pope interceding – He had just spent 5 years in jail.

He acted in connivance with another professional thief called Venuste alias RIKORO. That RIKORO has become famous because of his ability to imitate signatures. One day he stole 10 million Belgian Francs from the BACAR and was later arrested in Luxembourg just as he was about to cash that amount. He was extradited to Rwanda where he was incarcerated. It was there that he met Abraham Nshimilimana and one Kamanutsi (please inquire with the Courts to learn his other names).

This is how it happened:

Sponsored by Kamanutsi, Nshimilimana opened an account with the Bank of Kigali in the name of Alphonse Kalisa that we mentioned earlier on. Barely three weeks after, they stole forms known as “list of discount bills” from the Revenues Department. With the complicity of certain employees of the B.K., they withdrew money from the account of the Bank (Internal Account) that was used for credit and paid it into the account of one Alphonse Kalisa. They made it a point of forging the signatures of two employees, Prosper Ntawe and Zadok Majabo. These two signatures appear on the list of discount bills. Kalisa Alphonse cashed these millions in three payments. With the final payment, one lady called Habiba Ngomanzungu was suspicious of him because the account had just been opened. She telephoned one Celestin Rwakana in charge of the deposit of account instruments and asked for some information concerning payments into the account of Alphonse Kalisa. Rwakana immediately informed her that those were part of an “operation of the Securities Services;” though it usually took at least five minutes to locate documents, he gave a “spontaneous” reply!

We have told you that the money was stolen on 24 October ‘91. Since then, books from the Securities Services, from the Revenues Secretariat as well as listings vanished from sight until 31 October ‘91.

On 31 October ‘91, the books were found but the listings had disappeared for good. In the mean time, inquiries had begun because the B.K had learnt that they were stolen on 29 October ‘91. Nine employees were suspended, eight of whom were imprisoned, but only one of them was locked up for a long time (25 days). He was released when it was realized that his signature as well as that of Zadok Majabo had been forged. (Public Prosecutor’s Office). The investigations continue.

III. Our point of view on this theft and this contribution for those responsible for investigating this case:

  1. How were the account statements stolen from the Securities Services, when the thieves had no access to it?
  2. How did they obtain the forged signatures?
  3. How did the listings and the statements disappear? Was there anybody in charge of these documents, since they have not been recovered to this day?
  4. If we look back at what Madame Ngomanzungu and Rwakana said, we see that there many points that remain mysterious!
  5. Among the employees that were arrested, some are innocent and others guilty, but the Public Prosecutor seems not to know. Why does he not arrest these thieves?

Nobody could be oblivious of the problems that beset our country in these hard times of war, especially ethnic problems. Sometime ago, there was talk about problems between Hutu and Tutsi at the Bank of Kigali, to the extent that that those who closely followed this matter do not hesitate to say that at the B.K. there are plans for theft conceived by some Tutsi in order to get certain executive officers such as Zadok Majabo and Zacharie Habineza sacked from their jobs.

They thus wanted to make the Deputy Manager of the B.K. go crazy; indeed he is new and is not yet familiar with the Bank’s procedures. One of these desperados who fear nothing is supposed to have said that the Manager was naïve.

It must also be recalled that the thefts carried out at the B.K. began at the time the Inkotanyi were about to attack Rwanda (the theft of 48 million). What we can add is that the B.K. employees that were imprisoned for being accomplices to the Inkotanyi were reinstated in their jobs. Only two days afterwards, 5 million Francs were stolen.

The Central Intelligence Services should closely follow this matter and the managers of the B.K. should also do likewise.