In what Boston-based biotech firm did President Paul Kagame put an eight-digit figure (U$10,000,000+) of Rwandan workers’ social security fund? Who gave such a daring authorisation? Who knows what in this saga? Will the Rwanda Social Security Board ever publish details of this investment as required by Rwandan laws?
Let us stitch together the bits that I personally know and the bits drawn from existing sources to tell this crazy story. Sadly, these disparate sources are what Rwandans must rely on because the Rwanda Social Security Board will not reveal the truth. How can they, if the truth implicates the nation’s most powerful?
It is vital to contextualise this writing with the challenge of tracing monies often spread around the world by authoritarian rulers. By comparison, the monies exported by President Paul Kagame will always be “tiny” given the size of the Rwandan economy even with the loot from DR Congo.
It was recently estimated, for example, that high-ranking Angolan officials, including President José Eduardo Dos Santos stashed into overseas accounts over US$36 million of stolen public funds. http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/voices/dirty-money-murky-deals-europes-role-facilitating-corruption
Rwanda’s “financial exports” will never mount to billions but to millions of dollars.
When it comes to re-constructing the Rwandan money-trail, however, we are in luck. We have the usual source from where to begin – the serial boasting of the Kagame regime. That is where we begin tracing the trail of US$10million+ of Rwandan workers’ money that mysteriously flew to America.
Our point of depart is Jeff Chu’s famous article “Rwanda Rising: A New Model of Development” published by FastCompany in Boston in April 2009.http://m.fastcompany.com/1208900/rwanda-rising-new-model-economic-development
This writing was reproduced in series by the RPF daily – the New Times in April 2009.
As usual, the motive was to show off how great a leader President Kagame is. Here are the most revealing points in “Rwanda Rising: A new Model of Economic Development,” some of which I am able to verify:
* President Paul Kagame’s key strategy for developing Rwanda is to relay on wealthy and powerful mostly American friends to lure private investment into the country;
* It is from among these powerful friends that a recommendation to invest in a pre-IPO biotech firm was made;
* The biotech firm could not be named, writes Jeff Chu, because the company was still undergoing sensitive preparations in readiness to be publicly-launched;
* The money Rwanda invested came from the social-security funds.
* The biotech firm’s CEO was nervous of the Rwandan money because if something went wrong (for example if the Federal Drug Administration did not approve the firm’s products), the financial resources lost would affect one the poorest countries in the world, i.e. Rwanda, as opposed to the usual multi-millionaire venture capitalists seeking to make a quick buck.
* An adviser to Kagame “personally gave his approval and even increased the amount of the investment” to the biotech firm:
Now let us try to make sense of all this.
If the reader has not already guessed the bvious, the “advisor” to Kagame who “increased” the amount was no other than James Musoni who was at the time the Finance Minister. Musoni was also the direct boss to Henry Gaperi, who headed Rwanda’s Social Security Fund.
The biotech firm is the Boston-based Merrimack Pharmaceuticals. Its connection to President Paul Kagame is easily-established.
Begin with Michael Fairbanks, described as a “a founding shareholder” in Merrimack Pharmaceuticals. Fairbanks is also the founder and Chairman Emeritus of the OTF Group, based in Boston. OTF has been working in Rwanda for the past 13 years. A very close associate of Paul Kagame, Fairbanks is also a member of Rwanda’s Presidential Advisory Council.
Then we have Michael Porter, who is said to have served as a strategy advisor to Merrimack since 1999; he is on the firm’s member of board of directors since December 2010. http://www.merrimackpharma.com/promise/our-leadership
Porter is also a member of Kagame’s Presidential Advisory Council.
Finally, there is Clet Niyikiza, who is Merrimack’s Executive Vice President of Development since February 2010. He was Senior Vice President of Product Development from July 2009 to February 2010.
Niyikiza in fact moved from his former employer, GlaxoSmithKline, in 2009 at the height of the Rwandan transaction with Merrimack.
Niyikiza is therefore the third Merrimack’s person directly associated with President Kagame. Niyikiza is also a member of Paul Kagame’s Presidential Advisory Council.
I can also share the fact that I was part of the presidential entourage that together with President Kagame met Robert J. Mulroy, Merrimack’s President and Chief Executive Officer, in 2008 to firm up the relationship.
* I was not, however involved in the final stages in the later half of 2008 and thereafter.
* I therefore do not know the final figure that was subsequently approved;
* There can be no doubt however that four people are responsible for this saga: 1) President Kagame; 2) James Musoni, then Finance Minister; 3) Francois Kanimba, then Central Bank Governor; and 4) Henry Gaperi, then Director General of Rwanda’s Social Security Fund. I participated in earlier meetings with these individuals. The talk was generally around the need to establish some kind of “sovereign” fund for Rwanda via an aggressive investment drive.
Perhaps the biggest question is this: who is the proxy shareholder (out of over Merrimack’s 120 major shareholders) is the Rwandan workers’ money listed under? Naturally, as you would expect, Rwanda Social Security Fund, is NOT listed among Merrimack’s shareholders. Such missing link is what often proves difficult when tracing monies authoritarians spread overseas. Rwanda is no exception. The task of tracing the loot in foreign capitals in post-Kagame phase will not be easy even if the sums are much small than, for example, Angola’s.
The good ending to the story is that Merrimack Pharmaceuticals successfully made the transition from pre- to post-IPO in March 2012. That is when the firm went public and raised US$100 million.http://m.bizjournals.com/boston/news/2012/03/29/merrimack-pharma-shares-fall-after-ipo.html?r=full
Assuming that Rwandan workers unwittingly “invested” US$10 million, and the company was trading at US$7 per share when it was launched, and depending on the firm’s performance since March 2012, somebody in Rwanda is making some serious cash.
Rukokoma ati ndatashye! Aratashye se yarangije kubona ibya ngombwa! Nahindure akine politike yo kuvuga make akumva byinshi. Areke no gukangata nta n’ubushobozi abifitiye. Politike igezweho niyo kwicisha bugufi ariko ufite icyo ugamije.
It’s just one thing after another.
Ibanga ry’Ikigega cyitwa Agaciro mu Rwanda
FPR izi kugwiza umutungo, kwishyura imyenda no gucecekesha abarakare itavunitse. Nyuma y’uko ibihugu bigabanyirije inkunga byateraga u Rwanda amafaranga akaba make mu isanduku y’igihugu, FPR yagize ubwoba bwinshi bitewe n’amanyanga yo mu rwego rwo hejuru izo mfashanyo zishorwamo.
Ubusanzwe inkunga z’amahanga u Rwanda rubona ni akayabo gahagije kubeshaho neza igihugu mu nzego zose, ariko bitewe n’uko FPR yariye imyenda myinshi kandi abayobozi ba yo bakaba bashaka kuba ba Mirenge ku Ntenyo (abakungu), ako kayabo k’amadolari gahita kaba nk’agatonyanga mu butayu.
Duhere ku myenda FPR igomba kwishyura : Iyo si imyenda y’igihugu kuko amadeni yose Leta ya Habyarimana yasize u Rwanda rwayahanaguriweho mu rwego rwo kurufasha kwiyubaka bundi bushya. Amadeni FPR igomba kwishyura ubuziraherezo ni ay’abana b’Ababtutsi baguye ku rugamba, ababyeyi ba bo na bene wa bo bakaba basaba indishyi. Imfashanyo u Rwanda ruhabwa FPR ikuraho igipande cy’impozamarira zihabwa mu ibanga rikomeye ababyeyi, abana cyangwa abapfakazi b’abasirikare baguye ku rugerero.
Uwo mwenda utanditse FPR iwishyura igamije guhosha uburakari bw’aba bose bibaza icyo bene wa bo bazize bajya kumena amaraso, dore ko ubu abenshi ubuzima bubagoye ugereranyije n’aho bari bibereye mbere yo gutaha mu Rwanda. Kugira ngo biyorohere FPR yahinduye Umututsi wese umucikacumu, noneho imfashanyo zitangwa n’amahanga zikitwa ko ari izo kurera imfubyi, gutunga abapfakazi no kuriha amashuri ya bo. Iyi politki ya FPR ikaba ivanze n’ubugome kuko Abatutsi bahoze mu gihugu batitabwaho nk’abarutashye bavuye mu buhungiro. Abo bahoze mu gihugu mu maso ya Kagame bitwa Interahamwe mu zindi.
Indi myenda yishyurwa ni iy’abasirikari batagira imishahara ariko Kagame akaba yaratinye kubakura mu gisirikari. Kubera ubwinshi bw’abasirikari u Rwanda rufite (ibihumbi 250!) kandi nta mushahara rushobora kubabonera, Kagame ahora ashoza intambara ngo abohereze nagira amahirwe bahasige agatwe, ubundi bagahabwa misiyo yo gusahura Congo bakamuzanira. Abitwa ko ari abo mu nzego zo hejuru bahabwa umugabane kuri iyo minyago, ba rushati bagatahira dukunda igihugu. Abo Kagame atohereje gupfira ku rugamba muri Congo ababeshyeshya agahimbazamusyi k’intica ntikize, abamubereye abatoni cyane akabaha ububasha bwo kwambura abacuruzi n’abandi baturage bababeshya ngo bazabavuganira ubukuru.
Kagame ntatinya kwicaza aba superior officers hasi, bakabaho nta kazi, nta mushahara. Abikora kugira ngo abumvishe ko icyo yashaka cyose yakibakora harimo no kwicwa, noneho yabaha agashimwe ko kwitwara neza bakarushaho kumubera abacakara b’inkoramutima. Kuri Kagame inkoramutima ni umuntu uza agacerereza mugenzi we, akamucisha umutwe, bigatuma Kagame amuhungesa. Udafite icyo arega mugenzi w enta cyizere Kagame amugirira, ndetse uwo ahita yigizwa kure harimo no gufungwa cyangwa kwicwa azira amaherere.
Ibyo kandi no mu basivili ni ko bimeze. Kagame ntagira umuntu n’umwe yiringira usibye Tito Rutaremara ufite akazi k’ubucurabwenge. Uyu ni na we uhimbira Kagame bya bitutsi ahora avundereza kubatamuyobotse, akamutoza n’agasuzuguro agirira abazungu.
Tukivuga rero kuri iki kibazo cy’imyenda idasobanutse FPR igomba kwishyura abayoboke ba yo, inkunga zamaze kugabanuka biba ngombwa ko hashakishwa indi soko y’amafaranga. Nta handi yari kuva usibye mu baturage. Ikigega cy’agaciro abayobozi bo mu nzego zose bahatira abaturage kumenamo amafranga nta undi mumaro gifite usibye gukorwamo hakishyurwa ya myenda FPR yariye ku giti cya yo. Mu by’ukuri hari abashishikariza abandi kuyatanga bicinya icyara kubera ko baba bazi neza ko ari bo agenewe guhembwa! Abantu bakomeje gusaba ibisobanuro ku ikoreshwa ry’ayo mafaranga batanga ntibahabwe ikitansi (receipt), ndetse na ministiri w’ubukungu wagitangije byamunaniye gusobanuro icyo azakoresha ako kayabo. Hagati aho FPR ivugwa ko ari ryo shyaka rikize ku isi, u Rwanda rukaba rubarirwa mu bihugu bifite abaturage bakennye cyane.
Uko byifashe muri iki gihe FPR igeze abaturage habi cyane ku buryo isaha iyo ari yo yose ikirunga gishobora guturika ntibigire igaruriro.
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