BUJUMBURA (Reuters) - Canada’s deportation of a suspect in the murder of an anti-corruption activist in Burundi will help the African nation fight graft, officials said on Thursday.
Gabriel Nduwayo was detained on arrival from Canada, where he fled two years ago to seek asylum.
He has been cited in reports by the country’s justice system as the main actor in the killing of Ernest Manirumva, the former deputy chairman of a Burundi corruption watchdog, OLUCOME.
“I think this arrest is a step forward in the fight against corruption ... the government is determined to fight corruption,” said Elie Ntunzwenimana, Burundi’s justice spokesman.
“The government also recognizes the efforts of Manirumva and his organization to combat graft and embezzlement.”
The landlocked country of 8 million people was ranked the most corrupt last year in east Africa in a report by Transparency International’s Kenya chapter.
Corruption is stifling the economy. Donors finance half of the coffee producing country’s budget.
Manirumva was murdered on April 9, 2009. Authorities have drawn up a list of 16 suspects including Nduwayo. Eleven of them have been detained. Their trial is due in court on June 15.
Burundi’s human rights organization APRODH said last year Manirumva was killed while investigating weapons trafficking between some Burundi police officers and Rwandan Hutu rebels in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
Reporting by Patrick Nduwimana; Editing by James Macharia