Rwanda

Rwanda Opposition Figure Rwigara Taken from Home by Police

Diane Rwigara
Diane Rwigara

Rwanda National Police are quizzing former presidential aspirant Diane Rwigara and some of her family members over cases related to forgery and tax evasion.

Rwigara, who was barred from contesting in the recently-concluded general elections over failure to deliver the required signatures, was on Tuesday picked from her residence in Kigali.

The incident sparked fears that Rwigara had been arrested.

But Rwanda Police dismissed the accusations saying, “No member of the Rwigara family has been arrested.”

Police spokesperson ACP Theos Badege confirmed that on Tuesday law enforcement officers “searched the home of the Rwigaras as part of preliminary investigations into crimes of tax evasion and forgery.”

He said Police were “investigating two cases; one is related to forgery and another is on tax evasion. The search was in that line.”

Forgery is contrary to articles 609 and 610 of the penal code while tax evasion contravenes articles 369, 370, and 671 of the penal code.

The police move against the Rwigaras is likely to attract mixed reactions from the public as one of the members had already exhibited plans to unseat the current president.

For some time, Rwigara has complained of state harassment and persecution, claims the state denies as untrue.

The forgery case stems from claims that Rwigara conspired with Joseph Uwingabire, a National Electoral Commission Volunteer in Mbogo, Rulindo District in forging the signatures of 26 voters.

During the presidential nomination process; Rwigara reportedly submitted the name of Augustin Rudahara, who passed away on 16 April 2016 at Kibagabaga Hospital.

Also on Rwigara’s list of signatories from Gasabo District were two signatures of proven deceased persons, according to Electoral Commission officials.

In regard to charges of tax evasion, authorities claim the Rwigara tobacco business dodged taxes for a period of five years.

Assinapol Rwigara, considered one of Rwanda’s richest persons, was killed on February 4, 2015 in what Police said was a road accident.

The family of the deceased would later petition President Kagame to investigate circumstances under which Assinapol died.

“We the family of the Late Rwigara Assinapol writes to you requesting that you commission a detailed investigation in circumstances under which our parent died on the night of February 04, 2014,” the family said in a letter to Kagame, also copied to diplomats in Kigali.

“We were saddened by the death of our father, which caused a lot of speculation, including reports that he was killed. The death of our parent is shrouded in a lot of controversies as we are going to show below.”

Police maintained a truck rammed into the businessman’s Mercedes Benz, killing him instantly.

At the time of his death, the businessman had made a name in tobacco trade and real estate.

But around 2007, his business empire started struggling.

At one time, authorities at Nyarungenge district offices issued directives to withdraw a construction permit on one of his mega properties.

Police on Wednesday said the search of the Rwigaras’ home “is part of the Police mandate for conclusive investigations and fair justice.”

ACP Badege said the family has admitted to some of the charges.

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