A court in Kigali has sentenced a Kenyan to two years in prison and fined him Rwf3 million ($3,254) for defrauding Rwandans.
Mr Charles Kinuthia was found guilty of soliciting money from hundreds of Rwandans to attend his “Wealth Conference” in the capital in May 2019.
“Although Kinuthia pleaded not guilty, he accepted that he was the one who sent messages inviting people to attend the conference,” the court said, adding that “the messages were not saying [the] same which was a tactic to confuse the interested people in order to get money from them.”
Kinuthia was also denied a suspended penalty “because he pleaded not guilty right at the beginning and never showed remorse for the allegations against him,” the court added.
The court acquitted his co-accused – Kenyans Vivian Khisa Mukhwana and Rachel Matipei, and Rwandan Mohamed Niyonkuru – who were all arrested in May at the conference.
“The evidence provided by [the] prosecution against [the three] is insufficient in showing how they were involved. They were just workers who were lured by Kinuthia,” the court ruled.
In May, the accused had solicited more than Rwf4 million ($4,339) and $680 from participants through mobile money, online banking and cash at entry of the conference venue.
People registered online after they were lured with a promise of receiving $197 each at the end of the conference.
Mr Kinuthia, however, argued that the attendants were to get a value bonus of resources worth $197, not cash.