Tribert Rujugiro’s complex Union Trade Center (UTC) is among the confiscated assets after Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) has announced the list of14 investment firms that have tax arrears and are now likely to be auctioned. The billionaire insists whoever will be interested in bidding on his complex during the auction will be considered an illegal dealer.
The Union Trade Center (UTC) which was among 14 companies facing taxes arrears was rated to be valued at USD 20 million. The complex located in the center of Kigali City is under Government’s task force commission supervision after the law about abandoned properties.
According to RRA’s statement, the properties owners have 15 days to cover the tax arrears if not, they are likely to be auctioned.
Talking to BBC, Rujugiro made it clear that he considers whoever will be interested in buying his complex a partner in theft while admitting he will pay the taxes sooner or later, despite too much money he owes for his complex.
Asked whether his complex really owes the government the reported taxes, Rujugiro said, “No, not any. Since UTC was under my management in 2010, we conducted a five-year control in 2009 and we found we had Rwf 20 million and we immediately paid them. Since I left the country, UTC owed nothing to the government”.
Asked then why he thinks his UTC complex appears on the list, Rujugiro claimed that he did not receive any single management report since the complex went in the hands of the government, whether it earns or loses but reveals his complex earns Rwf 100 million monthly incomes and insists blame is on the current complex management if the taxes are not getting paid.
The first paragraph of article 11 of law n°39/2015 of 22/08/2015 regulating management of abandoned property, states that properties will be under the government’s responsible team until the properties’ owners declare themselves to reclaim their management rights.
Article 16 of the same law, stipulates that the tasked management team deposit their taxes on a communicated district account at each of the districts where the properties are located.
While, article 17 says about Management of deposit accounts, that a half (1/2) of the amount collected from abandoned property shall be deposited on a fixed deposit bank account, and the other half (1/2) of that amount shall be deposited on a current bank account in the National Bank of Rwanda to be used in the maintenance and renovation of the abandoned property and tax payment.
Rujugiro was asked whether he is ready to pay the taxes and said, “No, the problem will be on who will buy it, as long as the owner is around, his money will be paid in vain”
Although no total amount of money was revealed that the 14 announced firms owe the government, RRA has since warned those who are interested in renting the investment firms to avoid such rentals and purchases before 15 days given to the owners to clear the tax arrears before the public auction is communicated. The announcement was signed by the General Commissionner of RRA, on May 2nd, though only 2 days remains of the deadline.
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