In a flagrant trial, the TGI of Gitega condemned the manager, the pump attendant and the sentry of the Burundi Petrol Product service station, Gitega agency for undermining the proper functioning of the national economy by dissimilating the fuel in order to go sell it fraudulently afterwards at a high price.
Relaxed and without their lawyers, Schadrak Nibitangavyose, Patrice Mugabonihera and Emmanuel Ndayikengurukiye appeared this Sunday before the judges of the Tribunal de Grande Instance of Gitega in a trial of flagrance.
The public prosecutor who opened the proceedings accused the manager, the pump attendant and the watchman of hiding 1,136 liters of fuel in cans on Thursday 23 September to resell them on the black market at an exorbitant price. Which is punished by article 430 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of Burundi.
Before the judges, the manager and the pump attendant admitted to having put gasoline in the cans but not to resell it. According to them, the fuel seized by the police had already been sold and belonged to customers who were unable to bring their vehicles to the scene.
When asked why these full 1,000-liter cans were hidden in the gas station’s stock, the workers replied that they “serve everyone until all the fuel runs out.” Some come with their vehicles, others show up at the gas station with cans “, they further explained that they” never ask for the destination of this fuel as long as people pay “.
For these two defendants, they never thought it was a fault because no one complained.
“Even the police were there to bring order to the queues. Sometimes someone might ask me to reserve a few liters for them. In this case, if he agrees to pay cash and leave the container in my office I cannot refuse, it is a way of retaining customers, ”defended Schadrak Nibitangavyose, the manager of the BUPP service station. , Gitega agency.
As for Patrice Mugabonihera, the gas station attendant, he asked why justice is hitting him. According to him, since morning he had served gasoline in the cans in the presence of the police. It was at 10 am that they were arrested as they had been doing their work since early in the morning, without being worried by the police present.
“I plead guilty to having agreed to serve our customers in the cans, but this is the first time that I have heard that it is a fault punishable by law”, again pleaded the gas station attendant.
For Emmanuel Ndayikengurukiye, night watchman, it too was dismay. He never understood why he is on the dock when he is not concerned with the sale or distribution of fuel.
According to him, this is not within his prerogatives. He works under the orders of the manager and watches over everything in this gas station.
Justice did not make a quarter
In his indictment, the public prosecutor who charged the three people with complicity in undermining the proper functioning of the national economy was firm.
He asked the judges for a 5-year prison sentence for all the accused. What the court confirmed after a few minutes deliberation.
On the other hand, it did not take into account the compensation of BIF 8 million claimed by the civil party for defect in consignment costs. But Me Emmanuel Burakuvye, who defended the interests of the BUPP company, greatly appreciated the judgment because, according to him, justice has shown that his company, hitherto dragged in the mud, has not been involved in the illicit traffic of fuel.
“This is an opportunity to strengthen the supervision of BUPP workers to be vigilant and follow company guidelines to the letter. Fuel is served in vehicles and motorcycles, not in cans. Those who come with cans or barrels must have a special authorization issued by the authorized services “concluded the lawyer.