The department of civil litigation in the Attorney General’s office is seeking repayment of Rwf 25 million from a Kenyan lecturer Peter Maweu who forged academic papers to teach at Umutara Polytechnic University in Nyagatare district since 2008.
Maweu was handed eight years in jail after last year by the Nyagatare Primary Court after it was established that he presented a forged Masters Degree to get the job. He taught communication skills at the university.
He is said to have presented a bogus certificate inscribed in French from Kenyatta University in Kenya.
After thorough investigations, prosecutors had earlier proved to the court that Mawau never at any point studied at Kenyatta University.
Maweu’s case was first handled by the Office of Ombudsman but prosecution later issued an arrest warrant against him and subsequently pursued him in court.
According to The New Times news paper, during the hearing at Nyagatare intermediate court on Wednesday, the principal state attorney in civil litigation department, Marie Claire Umwali, told court that given the fact that the suspect earned taxpayer’s money through fictitious certificates, he should reimburse the whole amount of money he was paid in salaries amounting to Rwf 25,150,000.
“The suspect has committed a high magnitude crime by feeding university students skills that he illegally acquired through forged papers,” The New times quoted the state attorney as saying.
He also blinded the University management to offer him a job he did not qualify to do, she added.
She clarified that the suspect was paid a total of Rwf 24,150,000 as salary during his time at the University while Rwf1million would be fines.
“The public university where he worked was humiliated by employing such a person on false contractual terms. This is why Maweu’s contract should be nullified and he should pay the said amount.”
However, Peter Maweu’s defense lawyer, Emmanuel Bimenyimana, told the court that the government’s claim to be repaid the said amount would be “earning profits from a shadow investment” since his client was paid for the services he rendered.
The lawyer added that since the university has no plans to re-enroll students who were taught by his client on forged skills and hire a new qualified lecturer to teach them, there is no reason his client should pay the said amount.
“In addition to this, there is no institution claiming that the students taught by Maweu do not qualify in their respective work stations,” he argued.
In response, the state attorney, insisted that since Maweu reluctantly undermined a public institution of higher learning, his contract should be considered null and void and he refunds the salary.
“Umutara Polytechnic is a recognised public institution that delivers knowledge to all kinds of people. Forging academic papers to deliver substandard services is a crime that should be given much attention,” she said.
The presiding judge, Jean Bosco Rutagengwa, set February 24 as the date for the final ruling.