On 13 Jan 2014 UTC ceased to exist as private enterprise. The USD20million shopping mall was henceforth seized by government without compensation and without due legal process. Government’s Commission of the Abandoned Properties took direct control by installing its own managing director. Government justifies this nationalisation without compensation with claims that UTC is ‘an abandoned property’ because the company’s shareholder resides outside Rwanda. But shareholders of most leading companies in Rwanda, including BRALIRWA, MTN, and Kenya Commercial Bank, etc live outside Rwanda. The real motivation for illegal seizure of UTC therefore remains mysterious and troubling for a country that has invested heavily in its reputation as serious investment destination.
The Founder of UTC, Tribert Rujugiro Ayabatwa describes UTC illegal seizure as more unfortunate for the country than even the shareholders. “Here is a country whose citizens have worked so hard to rebuild, reaching important milestones. Part ofRwanda’s success is its good constitution and company laws that safeguard transparency and property rights among other things. But with a stroke of a pen, the government which is the ultimate custodian of laws declares same laws null and void. I cannot think of a worse deterrent to development than what we are witnessing in Rwanda.”
David Himbara, senior advisor to the UTC Founder believes that many organisations and individuals that support Rwanda are disappointed by unprovoked seizure of Kigali’s commercial hub. “Rwandans and non-Rwandans feel betrayed by this action, not least because UTC is a highly successful project, conceived, owned and operated by indigenous brains and talents. Success should be rewarded not punished. To say that Rwandan authorities are ill-advised would be an understatement.”
Ayabatwa is a native Rwandan and successful Pan African businessman with interests throughout the continent in tobacco, cement, snack foods, tea, real estate and banking. He has invested millions of dollars in the Rwandan economy, provided scholarships to students, and financed a local school, day care centre and housing development.
For more information about Ayabatwa, his businesses, and his philanthropic work, visit: http://tribertrujugiro.com/
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SOURCE UTC – Union Trade Center