X Dealer Faces Trial for Alleged Phone Theft from The Ben

Author: Brenda MIZERO
On:3/06/2024 13:18
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The trial of Ndagijimana Eric, known as X Dealer, accused of stealing The Ben's phone during his concert in Burundi in late September and early October 2023, has resumed.

On June 3, 2024, the trial of X Dealer, accused of stealing The Ben's phone, commenced at 9:30 AM at the Nyarugenge Primary Court.

The proceedings began with X Dealer being asked if he was ready to stand trial, to which he affirmed. His personal details were read out, and he stood alongside his lawyer, Maitre Baganwa Octave, as the charges were explained to him.

The prosecution presented evidence indicating that the phone was traced to a cell tower in Rwezamenyo, near X Dealer's residence. X Dealer and his lawyer were given the opportunity to defend themselves, vehemently denying the charges and asserting that X Dealer had not occupied The Ben's seat during the events.

Defense lawyer Maitre Baganwa Octave argued that the evidence presented by the prosecution was insufficient and questionable, invoking Article 166 to suggest that such dubious evidence should not be considered.

He emphasized that artists typically have security personnel, making it unlikely for X Dealer to have passed through without being noticed, and no witnesses had reported seeing him with the phone.

Additionally, the defense challenged the valuation of the iPhone in question, stating it was worth no more than 1.5 million Rwandan Francs (Frw), contrary to the 5 million Frw claimed in the complaint.

The defense also argued that if X Dealer had indeed stolen the phone, he wouldn't have returned with his companions since security checks at the border would have uncovered the phone.

The prosecution's point about utilizing footage from the event's cameras was dismissed, citing the strained relations between Rwanda and Burundi, which impeded access to such evidence. 

However, the defense contended that during the time of the incident, relations were still stable, and highlighted that The Ben's wife, who was his girlfriend at the time, was seated beside him, making the theft improbable.

X Dealer testified that his trip to Burundi was to attend the concert and to continue fostering professional relationships, as he is involved in artist management and event organization.

The defense pointed out that a report from Rwanda’s cybercrime division showed the phone was last active in Nyamirambo, implying it could have been with someone else, not necessarily X Dealer, as other individuals from the same area also attended the event in Burundi.

The named individuals included Bahati Makaca, Nshimiyimana Eric, Uwimana Jean Paul (Noopja), and Muyoboke Alex. The court announced that the trial would continue on June 12, 2024, at 11:00 AM.

X Dealer denies allegations, requests fair trial