The following release comes from Tribert Rujugiro Ayabatwa, founder of the Union Trade Center.
Operators of the Union Trade Center (UTC) — Rwanda’s largest shopping mall — expressed deep concern on that the Rwandan government is allegedly engineering a hostile takeover of the premier retail hub after it froze the bank accounts of UTC founder Tribert Rujugiro Ayabatwa.
The Rwanda National Prosecuting Authority on Aug. 8 instructed Ayabatwa’s bank, Access Bank LTD, to freeze Ayabatwa and his wife Nathalie Mukagatete’s 12 accounts, citing an “ongoing criminal investigation.”
We believe the move is the first step toward a takeover of the UTC, one of Kigali’s largest privately owned and operated businesses. The shopping mall, which opened in 2006, is a major commercial center, home to 81 shops, restaurants and other businesses. It is valued at $20 million (USD).
Ayabatwa is the UTC founder and its largest shareholder.
David Himbara, senior advisor to Ayabatwa and the UTC, called the bank account closure illegal, unethical and unprovoked. The government, Himbara said, neither notified Ayabatwa of its plans to freeze the accounts nor did it allow for any legal recourse.
“There is no basis for this illegal act,” Himbara said. “The government is abusing its own laws to stop independent investment and take over one of the country’s most successful privately owned businesses.”
Read more at allAfrica.