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RWANDA: New twist in Rwigara case

Diane Shima Rwigara

Police investigating her and family members over forgery, tax evasion

Kigali, Rwanda | THE INDEPENDENT TEAM |  The recent police quizzing of former Rwandan presidential hopeful Diane Rwigara has taken a new twist with the authorities questioning why she claims to have been arrested whereas not.

Police on Sept.04 took in Rwigara for questioning in an on-going investigation over alleged tax evasion and forgery. The tax evasion case has been long-running and the forgery case stems from Rwigara’s alleged conduct when she sought to contest in the recent presidential elections.

In order to contest, a candidate required signatures from hundreds of citizens across the country.

Authorities allege that rather than collect genuine signatures, Rwigara made forgeries and that her list also had names of dead people. It is because of this that the electoral authorities barred Rwigara from contesting in August’s presidential vote. Rwigara denies the allegations.

She is, however, also accused of tax evasion together with her family members.

“They are accused of tax evasion and secondly Diane Rwigara is accused of using fake documents while she was gathering signatures for (her) presidential candidacy,” police spokesman Theos Badege told reporters on Sept.01. Police said they had a warrant issued by a prosecutor to question them.

The tax evasion charges stem from a tax dispute that her father, the late Assinapol Rwigara who died in a car accident in February 2015, had with the country’s taxman, Rwanda Revenue Authority.

Rwigara’s father made a fortune as businessmen under the country’s former President Juvénal Habyarimana.  For this, some people perceived him as a Habyarimana collaborator and traitor.

Rwigara fled Rwanda when RPF launched the struggle against Habyarimana and became a supporter of the RPF. He returned to Rwanda when RPF captured power and continued his businesses. He would later fall out with the authorities over tax evasion and run into exile.

Negotiations saw him return but he had not reached a conclusive agreement with the tax body when he died in 2015 in a motor accident. The dispute had started in 2012. RRA never abandoned the matter and pursued it with the family company for which his other daughter Anne Rwigara is the executive director.

Police says it first raided Rwigara’s home as part of the investigation in the cases. The authorities say they conducted a joint operation for the two charges to prevent a situation where the suspects would tamper with evidence on either of the charges.

During the operation, police confiscated documents, phones, computers and cash totaling Rwf 150 million, which was also at the house.

Suspects, who included Rwigara, her sister, Anne Rwigara and mother Adeline Rwigara, were taken to police to where they record statements and were released.

However, after the incident, when a campaign online emerged calling on the authorities to “free Rwigara”, the authorities returned to their home. Sources familiar with the events say the motive was to show the public that the Rwigaras were at their home and not under in police detention. Sources familiar with the case say the family was found at home enjoying a meal of pizza.

Authorities blame the family of faking a kidnap to win international sympathy and attempting to tarnish the government over alleged political persecution.  Rwandan authorities are known for never allowing anyone to use politics to run away from accountability in court and the Rwigara’s are unlikely to be the exception.

Rwigara is said to have used the death of her father, a personal grievance, to launch a national election campaign.  The authorities say although the family was given all evidence relating to the accident that killed Rwigra, including being invited to the scene before it was cleared, the family insisted on telling journalists that the death was stage-managed and had been politically motivated.

The family back then launched an online campaign dubbed Justice for Rwigara. At the heart of the campaign were renowned critics of President Kagame who are in exile like Kayumba Nyamwasa, Theogene Rudasingwa, Gerald Gahima and David Himbara. Following the campaign, Rwigara, a 35-year-old accountant, joined politics.

6 comments

  1. Rwanda’s BS politics makes it so that they will find anything they want against anyone they choose!

  2. The Independent, you go buy the slogan of ” Buy the Truth, We sell the Price”, this article sells everything but the truth. The FACT is simply that all of the new organisation inside of Rwanda aren’t objective when it comes to matters that involve politics in Rwanda. Which is to a certain level understandable because everyone is concerned about their well being, and that is the issue.

    There is a video that leaked of Diane Rwigara Clearly asking the a police officer why she why she and her family are being arrested, why they had detain them in their house for days, why they took away their belongings and confiscated their phones? The police who was being asked these questions repeatedly answered “Let’s go to the police station then you will know what the charges are”.

    The Rwanda police later on help a press conference and stated that the Rwigaras failed to show up to the police station after 3 latter were sent to them. If that was or is the case, when didn’t the police officer in the leaked tape comfort the Rwigaras by telling them that they are being arrested because they refused to show up upon being invited? We see clear contradictions here.

    We Rwandas know that Rwigara accented in uncharted territory by directly and openly criticizing Kagame in Kigali, which is unheard of and unprecedented in Kagame’s eyes. That is why her and her family members are being persecuted. We Rwandas know that no one dares to speak against Kagame in Rwanda because hell breaks lose when you actually speak the truth. Yes Kagame has done some great things but that does not give him and his gang a license to kill.

    Rwandans have a long journey to achieve liberty and freedom. We want an atmosphere where there is health competing entities in government. The Rwandese people sing of Kagame as if he is a God, not because he is a decent person but because that is the one and only way they can survive. That kind of behavior has to stop. It is time for Rwandese people to develop critical thinking skills in a healthy way.

  3. Belgian ministry of Foreign Affairs (via Belgian ambassador in Kigali) tried to get in contact with family Rwigara during these famous 6 days when they were ‘free in their own house’ (according to Rwandan authorities …). Because some members of the family have the Belgian nationality, so they have the right to get humanitarian assistance in case of problem. But even the Rwandan minister of Foreign Affairs could not (or did not want) inform her Belgian colleague on the whereabouts of the Rwigara’s … They were clearly kept in ‘incommunicado detention’. This information was confirmed by the spokesman of Belgian MINAFET and published by VRTNWS (Belgian public broadcaster) and Belga (Belgian news agency).

  4. I think before writing this article you should contact this family before, and write it! You donnot know if you are a Rwandan who wrote it , what i can tell you be careful what you are writing because it looks like you have no clout kagame’s leaderchip!!!!

  5. Independent, you may working for this regime but the truful is rwandans have been sufferring repression for so long.
    1.You are saying that rwigara fled because did nit pay taxes that no true he fled becuase Kagame wants share in rwigara’s tabaco campany, and rwigare refused his request.
    2. You are saying Rwigara died in car accident! Not true Kagame ordered tokill him and police called family mistakenly police dis not reliaze He was still breathing, upon family arrival found Rwigara was still breathing, asked to release the body to take to him to hospital But police did not allowed family to take him instead police took him and finished him on they way to their hospital mo happen after Rwigara won billions money in court from rwanda gvment!
    3.Independent you need to check facts, you are saying Rwigara fled the county because of not paying taxes? When did he fled? You need to go back find a time they are acusing Rwigaras family for no paying taxes! When did came back from belgium? Why is Kagame acusing this family for no paying taxes at this time? If you remember Kagame killed Rwigara after Rwigara won billions money from gorvment; did gvment pay this family even a single pannie? I can go on and on and on !!! Please dont sympatize with a killer!!!!!

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