Sometime mid 2015, three genocide survivors hired a lawyer to assist them with a complex case in which city tycoon Charles Mporanyi had acquired property shareholding belonging to a genocide fugitive.
The said property was supposed to be sold off in order to compensate the survivors.
Taarifa reported in our previous article how a Gacaca court in Bumbogo, one of the suburbs of Kigali City, had ruled in favour of the survivors that properties belonging to genocide fugitive Stanislas Mbonampeka be sold to compensate the damages he caused against the survivors.
The survivors have testified their ordeal.
Theodore Uwiduhaye is one of them. He is also the current Vice President of IBUKA in Gasabo District.
“We sat on benches and followed the hearing of the Gacaca court that convicted Mbonampeka,” he says. “Dozens of survivors testified the horrors brought to them by Mbonampeka.”
He is on the Interpol list of most wanted criminals.
The court sentenced him in absentia and ordered that all his properties be frozen and used to compensate the damages he caused.
Very few survivors knew what properties he owned nor did they know where his properties were.
Nearly all survivors were not expecting to be compensated knowing that Mbonampeka was not where to be found.
Uwiduhaye, however, happened to have heard that Mbonampeka was one of the shareholders of Kigali Business Centre Ltd (KBC), formerly known as Impremerie de Kigali.
He, and two other survivors decided to submit a claim against his shareholding in KBC.
Due to limited knowledge of the management of KBC and limited resources to run behind the case, it took them a long time.
Finally, in 2015, after gathering substantial information, they went to see Mporanyi, whom they had discovered was the one managing the property.
“We visited his office and found his secretary,” Uwiduhaye says. “She took our letter to him as we waited for his response. She came back with his note asking us to go see his lawyer.”
He never talked to them.
Off they went to see his lawyer.
“The lawyer was nice,” he says. “He said Mporanyi had nothing to do with Mbonampeka’s issues and gave us Mbonampeka’s address to write to him. How they knew his whereabouts was shocking to us.”
They wrote a letter and sent it via the Post Office.
In their surprise, Mbonampeka responded.
“He told us that he will never come back to Rwanda and thus we should go find those properties and do what we want,” Uwiduhaye says.
Little did they know that Mbonampeka had sold his shares to Mporanyi a long time ago, in September 2009 to be precise; five years earlier than their pursuit.
Taarifa already reported how the two gentleman made the transaction.
Apparently, Mporanyi had offered Mbonampeka about Rwf80 million, which Mbonampeka protested that it was less than the real value he has estimated to be over Rwf160 million, in a very long technical document, and an email breaking down what he believed he deserved.
The survivors, through their lawyer sued Mporanyi at the Nyarugenge Commercial Court.
“Our case was dismissed in unclear circumstances,” Uwiduhaye explains.
“We have never understood how a court dismisses a lawsuit of illegal acquisition of properties, clearly stated by another competent court, meant to compensate survivors. This was not Mporanyi’s property in the first place, he only acquired it from Mbonampeka.”
The survivors hit a snag.
They petitioned IBUKA for help. IBUKA wrote to CNLG. CNLG wrote to CID (now RIB) to investigate the circumstances in which such a scenario unfolded and copied the Police Chief, the Prime Minister, the then Minister of Internal Security and the Minister of Justice.
Until now, their case has never been resolved.
When Taarifa reported the feud involving Mporanyi and his current shareholders in the property, survivors, IBUKA and CNLG have since picked interest and are preparing to pursue the case afresh until they are accorded justice.
Mporanyi cannot answer questions regarding this matter. In our previous article, he said if we have all the information, then what else do we need from him.
Chances for the survivors to pursue and win a case against the city tycoon are slim.
He has constantly been battling cases and has always emerged a winner.
Except for one or two cases, like that of SORAS, Mporanyi has never lost any legal battle, many of which end mysteriously or his opponents abandoning cases due to inability to foot exorbitant legal fees.
Taarifa has gathered testimonies from several businesses, small and big. Some have called it quits, others hope they will resume once they get fees to go after him.
One of his companies, PRINTEX, is accused of causing agony in the printing sector.
His competitors and clients are up in arms over malpractices.
Taarifa has leant that PRINTEX, first was awarded a tender by USAID worth hundreds of millions of francs in a project that involved printing thousands of books for distribution across the country.
The deal went bad when, according to our sources, PRINTEX breached the contract by printing the books on substandard paper. The conversation between the two parties was very uncomfortable. Details of what happened after have been shelved for reasons known to the parties involved.
Now, Taarifa can confirm that PRINTEX is also involved in a ferocious fight with other printing companies over a tender allegedly awarded to Mporanyi’s company in a dubious manner to print books for Rwanda Education Board (REB) worth billions of francs.
Initially, REB came up with a shortlist of four companies of which PRINTEX was one of them.
Other players petitioned the Public Procurement Authority and their Association, of which Mporanyi is a senior member.
The tender was revised, but the time to submit bids was not changed. They had less than a week to prepare for their bids.
Irregularities in the tender need a forensic investigation, because some of them are too sophisticated to trace, including a possible manipulation of Umucyo system and a dirty hand in the whole tender.
Finally, PRINTEX won the tender, which competitors allege was awarded in unclear circumstances.
Some printeries have petitioned again.
If fellow businessmen can not take him on, will helpless genocide survivors ever get justice?