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Cameroonian Businessman Sidelined By Mauritanian Firm Over Rwanda Hydro-power Deal

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The Commercial Court in Kigali is expected to adjudicate in a highly contentious business dispute between shareholders of Refad Rwanda Ltd Company.

The shareholders in this Refad company include Jacques Ntogue with a 49% stake, while Omnicane a Mauritanian sugar-sector giant controls 51% of shares.

“I was the founder and Chairman of Refad Rwanda. With the majority shareholding. When Omnicane  came in they got 51% and committed to invest U$3Million Equity in the project. We have never seen that,” Ntogue told Taarifa in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.

Refad company is currently managing construction of two hydroelectric dams in southwest Rwanda.

However, these shareholders have not been in good business relations as Ntogue accuses Omnicane of fraud, attempting to sideline him in the hydroelectric dam project. He has chosen to drag his partner to the Kigali commercial court accusing Omnicane of forgery to steal his shares in the Refad company.

In 2019, there was a sudden increase in the capital of Refad company and this happened without the knowledge of Ntogue but later learnt in 2020 that his shares in the company had been stolen or diluted or even chopped from 49% to a very shy figure of 1.52%.

For any Business person such an action would not just be left to pass. Ntogue quickly swung into action and filed a complaint in the commercial court but also appealed to Rwanda Development Board.

A dissatisfied Ntogue badly wanted the capital increase annulled.

In its argument, Omnicane argues that it took an equity stake in Refad in December 2014 and argues that Ntogue had never paid the equivalent of U$ 3million he should have done for his shares.

“This is not true. When Omnicane came, I had already secured; feasibility study, Environmental study, land acess and land rights- all this work took at least 5 years and was paid for from Jacques Ntogue pocket,” according to his lawyer Isaac Ndahiro.

Ndahiro further explains that Omnicane made 3 due deligence missions in Kigali, met 3 minister, EWSA directors and apointed a Swiss company Stuky that validated technical and financial studies. There was no mention that Refad Rwanda will inject an extra U$3million and give 51% share to Omnicane.

Meanwhile, in November 2019, Omnicane offered to Jacques Ntogue to buy 49% share for €uro600,000. Ntogue rejected that and instead offered to buy 51% of Omnicane for €uro 3million.

However, Ntogue previously told  Africa Intelligence that this amount corresponds to the sum the firm spent on feasibility and environmental impact assessments before Omnicane came on board.

In a nutshell, Ntogue told Taarifa that Omnicane refused to follow RDB guidelines when RDB realised the Fraud.

“The capital increase not only was a fraud, but it never happened since with 49% of shares we were never informed about this capital increase,” Ntogue said.

In another submission, Ntogue says that Omnicane with a local accomplice has organised a tax evasion by a fabricated loan to the local company- a loan that has no evidence nor trace, “This is pure fraud.”

According to Ntogue, all these major operations should have requested a board meeting followed by a shareholders meeting,  “None of these meetings took place.”

Since the matter is already in the courts of law, “we request that the court request an independent audit. To know what has happened since we have being asking for 5 years to get company financial data. And that the court follows RDB request to give us back our 49% shares.”

Below are details of a letter written by RDB’s Registrar General Richard Kayibanda and addressed to Dieudonne Nzafashwanayo of ENSAfrica, Ref: RDB/3/RG/1735/11/2020. Copied on this letter include; Shield Associates, Omnicane Ltd and Omnihydro.

Reference is made to your letter of 25 september 2020 where you requested the Registrar General to reconsider the decision to rescind the approval of the change filed by REFAD RWANDA LTD in the office of the Registrar General since June7, 2019 as detailed in the letter addressed to OMNIHYDRO Ltd (your client) on September 16, 2020.

As we informed your client in the letter of September 16, 2020, the rescission of the approval of the filed changes in REFAD  was based on the provisions of the articles 191 and 194 of the law no17/2018 of 13/04/2018 governing companies.

The reading of the two articles makes it clear that notwithstanding anything a company’s incorporation documents (in this case the clause 12 (I) of the articles of Association of REFAD RWANDA Ltd adopted on May 8, 2020), no action may be taken by a company which affects, “the rights, privileges, limitations and conditions attached to the share by this  law of the incorporation documents, including any voting rights and rights to distributions attached to the share” unless that action has been authorised by a special resolution of each class.

This indicates that the provisions of the articles of association of Refad affecting Refad Group AG right to vote cannot be exercised if not taken by a shareholders’ special resolution in which at least 75% of shares (as registered by then in the registry of companies) are represented.

Please note that when the decision which affected Refad Group AG voting right was taken, the latter had 75 ordinary shares representing 49% of the total shares. This means that in this situation it was not possible to take a special resolution in its absence.

From the above we would like to inform you that the decision rescinding the approval of the filed changes in Refad Rwanda ltd/ Omnihydro Ltd as communicated to the latter on September 16, 2020 remains unchanged.

we also take this opportunity to remind Omnihydro ltd to restore the company records in the registry in their status as initially requested in our letter of September 16, 2020 immediately upon receipt of this letter, failure of which, it shall be effected by our office.

This is a developing story, Taarifa will bring you extra details in a series

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Airtel Rwanda Partners With Canal+ To Ease Payment Of Subscription Fees Via Airtel Money

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Airtel Rwanda and Canal+ Rwanda have launched a partnership, enabling customers to easily make subscription payments.

The partnership announced at a joint press conference today provides clients of both CANAL+ and Airtel a simpler, instant and secure payments method using Airtel Money.

CANAL+ Rwanda is the subsidiary of CANAL+INTERNATIONAL, TV operator by satellite in Africa and present in over  25 African countries.

CANAL+ Rwanda have a trilingual package with 200 channels in French, Kinyarwanda and English and it offers accessible bouquet starting from 5,000 Francs with a distribution network throughout the country.

Speaking at the launch event, Airtel Rwanda Managing Director, Mr. Emmanuel Hamez said “We are delighted to launch this new service on our Airtel Money platform we welcome all Canal+ customers to enjoy the convenience and simplicity offered by Airtel Money both on the USSD as well as in the My Airtel App”.

The new service that was launched today comes on the heels of an ongoing Airtel Money campaign called Free P2P which enables all Airtel Money customers to send and receive any amount of money for FREE.

“Free P2P or Ohereza Amafaranga Ku Buntu was launched in June 2021 saw Airtel scrap all charges to send and receive money between customers, a major differentiator that positions Airtel Money to become the provider of choice when it comes to payment of good and services such Canal+ that we have launched today” added Hamez.

Canal+ Rwanda’s Managing Director, Madam Sophie TCHATCHOUA said “It gives me great pleasure to allow Canal+ client to renew their subscription with Airtel Money. The successful integration of our mutual services makes life easier for our beloved customers who can now recharge and seamlessly have their images back and all this can be done from the comfort of their home”.

To renew your subscription via Airtel Money, customers can simply dial the direct short code string *500*4*3*2*4*1# on either their smartphone on feature phone, input their 14 Digit of their decoder  number, select their preferred bouquet and make the payment which is recognized by the Canal+ billing system instantly.

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Hundreds Of Passengers Miss Flight In Uganda Due To Delayed COVID-19 Tests

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Hundreds of Ugandans have been left stranded at Entebbe International Airport by the Emirates Airways after the laboratory where they had taken their Covid-19 results delayed to return them on time.

In a Snapchat post by Ugandan socialite Sheila Gashumba, she ranted, ‘’When I tell Ugandans that Covid in Uganda is a business they say I have ‘kajanja’.

Now all Emirates passengers have missed their flights because Safari Lab sent Covid results at 2:45pm and Emirates closed its gate at 3pm.

The hospital said it couldn’t work on everyone in the short time.

Around 300 passengers missed their flight yet Safari Lab had made a total of UgSh75m since everyone had paid UGX 250,000 for the test.

In the video where all passengers were visibly angry and frustrated, they can be heard asking for what the solution is and who is going to pay for the tickets again now that those that they had paid for can no longer be used anymore.

Passengers expressed their frustration at the rot in the service.

“I experienced such thing in March as the officers in charge claimed that the gates were close at 1pm as the flight was at 3pm,” one twitter user said.

Some made jokes out of it and asked, if this was because of the US$10 tax that is in the process of being introduced and will be paid by anyone that leaves the country using the Entebbe International Airport.

Another twitter user @kasoxialex2000 asked, ‘’@UgandaCAA (Uganda Civil Aviation Authority), but seriously you guys when you move to some airports don’t you copy something? Why are we ever backwards??? Stop embarrassing us. Who will save Uganda’’
By press time there was no official communication from the Civil Aviation Authority, Safari Lab nor Emirates Airways.

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Kagame Tells Bankers, Banking Can’t Just Be “Service For Elites”

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Banking can’t just be a service for elites, President Paul Kagame has said.  He made the remarks while speaking at the 14th Annual Banking and Finance Conference in Nigeria that he attended virtually.

Running under the theme, ‘’Economic Recovery, Inclusion and Transformation: The Role of Banking and Finance’’, the two-day conference will aim at the need to reposition the Finance and Banking sector as a catalyst for Economic recovery, transformation and inclusive growth.

In his remarks, he noted how the Covid pandemic has affected every aspect of Africa’s economies but at the same time also presents an opportunity for African banks to play a leading role in making societies more resilient and more responsive to the needs of Africans.

‘’Whatever affects business, affects banking. Financial services are the engine of private sector development. Banks are crucial for allocating capital wisely and productively,’’ he further added.

President Kagame noted that, in order to stay competitive, there is need to keep integrating new technology into banking to increase financial inclusion and access as banking can’t just be a service of elites.

He also went ahead to reemphasize what he has always said when it comes to African states always depending on the West and other countries for support. ‘’Indeed, Africa has the resources to fund its own economic growth and reduce dependence on external resources,’’ he said.

Kagame also noted that the African Continental Free Trade Area is creating new opportunities for Pan African Trade and investment. ‘’Banks with continental reach, like several of the institutions represented here can lead the way in cementing economic integration.’’

As he concluded, he stated how the banking sector, more than any other, understands the importance of integrity and good customer service. ‘’Banking is ultimately about trust. We look to you to set the pace in this regard. Our role as governments is to maintain good enabling environments, protecting both shareholders and customers while allowing for innovation. We expect you to keep challenging us on this,’’ he said.

In attendance at the same conference was the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Edwin Emefiele who made a huge announcement.  He said, ‘’Central Bank, will, in the next twelve months be establishing the Nigerian International Financial Centre (NIFC). The NIFC will act as an international gateway for capital and investments, driven by technology and payment system infrastructure.’’

In Rwanda, current statistics show that even though there are still various challenges that continue to put women behind men when it comes to financial inclusion, the number of women who are currently banked have risen from 24% in 2016 to 34% in 2021.

This is according to a FinScope 2020 Gender thematic report on the state of women financial inclusion in Rwanda that was supported by Access to Finance Rwanda (AFR).

In one of the Focus Notes from Access to Finance Rwanda, farmers reported that women and men enjoy equal rights and treatment at specified two Financial institutions in the Focus note and therefore no special gender based treatment yet the outcomes of each groups are not equal.

At both Financial Institutions, women and youths are more likely to use loans to hire land farm as they lack access to land and they have been assisted by addressing some of the barriers that women and youth face in accessing loans.

The conference will therefore focus on how banking can be a service enjoyed by all Africans regardless of their financial strengths through making access to finance for development is an easy and smooth process.

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