Posts tagged as: rujugiro

Govt to Sell Exiled Tycoon’s Property

The Rwandan Revenue Authority has placed Kigali’s Union Trade Centre — a $20 million mall owned by exiled tycoon Tribert Rujugiro Ayabatwa — among properties to be auctioned for defaulting on their taxes.

Mr Rujugiro has taken the Rwandan government to the East African Court of Justice for the alleged illegal seizure of his properties.

RRA has published a list of properties up for auction and among them is the mall, which in 2013 was put under the Nyarugenge District Commission of Abandoned Properties.

The government said the property and many others had been put under the management of the Commission of Abandoned Properties for “efficient management,” which among other things includes paying taxes and utility bills.

UTC was put on a list of 14 properties that RRA said “are immovable assets of taxpayers whose properties have been attached and will be auctioned.”

The taxes owed are from 2015, when the building was already in the hands of the Commission of Abandoned Properties.

By press time, The EastAfrican had failed to ascertain how much UTC owes the government.

The EACJ is yet to decide the ongoing case in Arusha in which Mr Rujugiro, who fell out with the government in 2010, seeks to redeem a number of his properties that have been seized.

The case filed in 2013 was dismissed by the First Instance Chamber of the EACJ, but later the Appeal Court ordered the Trial Court to hear it afresh “citing that parties had not been afforded an opportunity to present relevant evidence in support of their respective cases.”

The case is still pending before the trial court and no hearing date has so far been announced.

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Tobacco Tycoon Sues Dyer and Blair in Share Sale Row

By Brian Wasuna

Rwandan tobacco tycoon Tribert Ayabatwa Rujugiro has filed a multimillion shilling suit against Kenyan investment bank Dyer & Blair, accusing the broker of selling his Safaricom shares and failing to speedily pass on the sale proceeds to him.

Mr Rujugiro wants Dyer & Blair ordered to pay him damages for withholding proceeds of the share sale for 135 days, and for paying him after fluctuations of the US dollar rate negatively affected his returns.

The Rwandan tycoon bought his 8.8 million Safaricom shares in 2008 for $1 million (then equivalent to Ksh61.4 million) through Dyer & Blair, but ordered the lender to sell the stocks in 2013.

Dyer & Blair fetched Ksh85.7 million, but withheld the sum for 135 days, before converting it to $989,631. Mr Rujugiro now says the Kenyan shilling strengthened against the dollar during the withholding period, a move that cost him substantial loss.

The businessman is claiming $577,000 (Ksh57 million) in special damages, and has also asked the court to award him an unspecified amount in general damages.

Mr Rujugiro says he lost a chance to re-invest the proceeds of the share sale in the international stock market because of Dyer & Blair’s move to hold his funds.

Dyer & Blair has responded that the withholding of Mr Rujugiro’s funds was to enable the broker comply with the know your customer (KYC) obligations.

The tycoon’s agent — Chris Brown — has claimed in court papers that a senior Dyer & Blair manager admitted during a meeting that the actual reason for withholding Mr Rujugiro’s funds was pressure and coercion from the Rwandan government.

Mr Brown says Paul Nyaga, a deputy manager at Dyer & Blair, told him that the Rwandan government had indicated that it would make business conditions difficult for the investment bank in Kigali if it did not obstruct payment to the tobacco billionaire. The threats were allegedly issued to Dyer & Blair chairman Jimnah Mbaru.

Dyer & Blair holds that the instructions Mr Rujugiro issued in 2013 to sell the shares had come from a different email address and the passport details provided differed from those in Dyer & Blairs records, prompting it to withhold the sale proceeds.

“The general conduct of Dyer & Blair on my portfolio was negligent. Dyer & Blair was enjoined by regulations of the Capital Markets Authority to deposit the sale sum in an interest earning account immediately after liquidation of my shares.

The defendant was also enjoined to convert the sale sum when the dollar rate was Ksh85.47 instead of converting when the rate was Ksh86.6, Mr Rujugiro says.

Dyer & Blair in its response says it was forced to hold onto Mr Rujugiro’s proceeds after discovering that the tobacco tycoon had been exiled from Rwanda and that the government had seized a number of his assets in Kigali worth millions of dollars.

Dyer & Blair says it asked Mr Rujugiro to appear before its managers in Nairobi to prove that the sudden change in personal details were not part of an identity theft scam.

But the tycoon instead sent his agent — Chris Brown — who travelled to Nairobi on various occasions to resolve the standoff that had attracted the attention of the Capital Markets Authority (CMA).

When Dyer & Blair eventually sent Mr Rujugiro the Sh85 million, it was frozen by the tycoon’s bank — Access Bank UK.

Dyer & Blair says “the bank requested for an impromptu meeting on March 13, 2014 where attempts to convince the CMA of the need for a release and discharge deed did not bear any fruit. In the circumstances Dyer & Blair wrote to the CMA confirming that it would expedite the payment.”

“When the funds were transmitted to the bank account whose details had been provided, we received an email from our bankers indicating that the funds had not been applied by the receiving bank. In effect the funds had been frozen by Access Bank UK (Mr Rujugiro’s bank) until further information as to the source of funds was provided,” Dyer & Blair adds.

Mr Rujugiro was exiled in 2009 after falling out with the Paul Kagame regime, which accused him of supporting rebels.

The government also took over his assets such as the $20 million (Sh2 billion) Union Trade Centre mall that houses over 80 businesses and his $2 million (Sh200 million) mansion.

The business mogul, who founded Africa’s largest indigenous tobacco manufacturer –Pan African Tobacco Group– is now domiciled in South Africa where he has acquired citizenship.

His tobacco firm, according to American business magazine Forbes, generates over $250 million (Sh25 billion) annually. The magazine estimates Mr Rujugiro’s personal estate to be worth $200 million (Sh20 billion).

Dyer & Blair finance director Stanley Ng’ang’a has faulted Mr Rujugiro for the delay, as he holds that the money would have been transferred earlier had the businessman co-operated with the bank in settling the identity queries raised.

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