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AN INSIGHT INTO THE CONTROVERSY OVER THE "BACAR AFFAIR"

I am an independent-minded Rwandan citizen with no political leaning
whatsoever. However, as a patriotic trained politologist passionate
about principles of justice, freedom and truth, I take an interest in
analyzing matters of scandalous nature that, now and then, dazzle the
political and financial big guns of my country. Of equally great
interest to me are politically motivated quarrels and "emblematic
fighting" that find expression in verbal or written exchanges of
ethics-insulting words.
 
In such an environment, I often catch myself indulging in tongue-tied
investigations in order to find the truth and to assess the standards
of our political culture, our political philosophy, our political
maturity, the depth of our morals and the length and width of our
intellectual honesty and mutual tolerance.
The controversial "BACAR AFFAIR" currently on everybody's lips in
Kigali is a perfect example of a matter of scandalous nature. No
wonder then that it has drawn my attention.
 
Internet publications by RPF former MP and BACAR Board of Directors
Chairman by the name of KAJEGUHAKWA currently in effective exile in
the USA, his sworn virulence and hatred vis-à-vis President KAGAME
and certain senior Army Officers, have led me to ask myself a couple
of questions and to conduct my own investigations so that I should
grasp the driving force behind this rage of the man who, till the day
before he left for the USA, was held in respect and esteem by
everybody in Kigali because of his "Economic Empire" and his
privileged relations with former President BIZIMUNGU.
The conclusions I have come to after one-month research and
investigations with people in the know including Mr. Kajeguhakwa's
and BACAR's intimates, are nothing less than flabbergasting. Read
and judge for yourself.

I. WHO IS MR. KAJEGUHAKWA?
 
Mr. KAJEGUHAKWA is a 60-year-old Rwandan businessman hailing from
Gisenyi Province. After a brief excursion into the teaching field,
he set himself up in business. As early as 1980, Mr. KAJEGUHAKWA was
a leading figure in the business community in Kigali and among the
country's top "tycoons". The "African Continental Bank of Rwanda"
(BACAR), established around 1983 and in which he held shares, as well
as his petroleum company ERP greatly contributed to elevating his
prestige in business circles. Mr. KAJEGUHAKWA learnt how to use his
money for political ends down to a fine art. His own friends and
associates testify to the fact that he was ever ready to "invest" his
money in acts of corruption. This conduct of his earned him a legion
of acquaintances within the ruling circles as well as privileges in
the HABYALIMANA Regime, notably those in connection with the income
tax, which effectively were at the roots of his dazzling prosperity
during the 1980s.
 
Though Mr. KAJEGUHAKWA never held any political post before 1994,
every Munyarwanda of Kigali who closely followed the political
evolution in the 1980s knows very well that, up to 1990, Mr.
KAJEGUHAKWA was the "Darling" of the HABYALIMANA Regime in asmuch as
he would make himself at home with the Ex-President's "AKAZU". It is
common knowledge that Mr. KAJEGUHAKWA's favorite gambit to protect
the illicit side of his business was to ally with all the big guns of
the regime. His best friends were carefully picked and sorted out
and they were no less persons than President HABYALIMANA himself and
his wife, Mr. ZIGIRANYIRAZO, Mr. SAGATWA, Mr. RWABUKUMBA, Mr.
SERUBUGA, MR. NZIRORERA, well, in short, the inner circle of the
Regime.
 
II. BACAR: A REAL MAFIA HOLE
 
After the fall of the HABYALIMANA Regime in 1994, Mr. KAJEGUHAKWA
mapped out a strategy he meant to execute in four laps:-
· Lap One: Take advantage of his political position as
RPF member of Parliament and regain properties he lost in 1990 when
he had a dust-up with the then ruling class.
· Lap Two: Frame around himself a myth that to all
intents and purposes catapulted him to stardom especially on the
business scene.
· Lap Three: Seduce and imperil the politico-military hierarchy
as well as judges by literally dropping them right in an unlawful
partnership with a fiendishly fixed purpose of making them his
unsuspecting comrades-in-crime to stand guard over his awful drive to
pilfer accounts of 1994 refugees.
 
Needless to say that some of them were caught in the trap. Under the
protection of former President BIZIMUNGU and certain money-worshiping
judges, his strategy bore fruits because he filched three (3) good
billions of Rwandan Francs through the sole misappropriation of his
clients' bank accounts. Unfortunately for him, the "ILL-GOTTEN-
GOODS" fate decreed that judicial police investigators take the lid
off his jiggery-pokery. And one kind of expected it. Already in
1999, waves of resignation rocked BACAR. Three senior managers, Mr.
NDAGIJIMANA Gabriel, Mr. Faustin HARELIMANA and Mr. Eustache
NDAYISABYE resigned from their posts one after the other.
 
According to sources close to BACAR, the managerial staff were
already wrestling with serious differences over the selling of
properties belonging to the 1994 Hutu refugees, which upset Faustin,
Gabriel and Eustache,themselves Hutus. This case as well as Mr.
KAJEGUHAKWA's political ambitions are also thought to be behind the
1998 good clean break between former President BIZIMUNGU and Mr.
KAJEGUHAKWA.
 
Hell-bent on carrying his fiendish plan into execution, Mr.
KAJEGUHAKWA, by means of intrigues, jiggery-pokery and intimidations,
gained control of the bank and appropriated the totality of the
shareholding of the Continental Bank of Luxembourg (BCL), thus
causing the BCL to lose all legal links with BACAR. Cast-iron
evidence established by reliable sources showed that BACAR's
financial situation in July 1994 was clean and clear. The said
sources also maintain that confusion started only as soon as the bank
reopened on August 1, 1995. All investigators unanimously swear by
all that is holy that Mr. KAJEGUHAKWA's allegations according to
which the bank was robbed by the interim Government are false,
unjustified and baseless. Proofs are legion.
 
Mr. KAJEGUHAKWA alleged that the Genocidal Government robbed BACAR of
an amount of FRW. 3 billions. He simply lied in his teeth. The sole
fact that the bank didn't possess such an amount of money, be it in
its coffers or on its BNR accounts, indeed not even in both, is an
indictment of this claim. Furthermore, even in the event that such a
situation should have occurred during the war, the disappearance of
billions of Rwandan Francs wouldn't have been glossed over by BNR.
Yet, it appears that Mr. KAJEGUHAKWA elected to keep his lips
buttoned up and to play a lone hand. Why? It is in the laps of
KAJEGUHAKWA's gods. In any case, to him, BACAR had become his
private property.
 
Therefore, the most sensible conclusion we can come to is that Mr.
KAJEGUHAKWA's allegations are a pack of lies, fabricated alibis
designed to justify the Mafia plans he and his family were to bring
to fruition so as to re-float their various bankrupt companies (ERP,
CORWACO..). These incredible plans only creditable to the Sicilian
Mafia will be crowned by the filching of numerous bank accounts of
individuals and private and parastatal companies. The list is
endless but following are the most important of them:
 
· SONARWA
· OCIR-THÉ
· CAISSE SOCIALE
· TABARWANDA
· PETRORWANDA
· MINITRAPE
· ELECTROGAZ
· AIR RWANDA
· BANQUES POPULAIRES DU RWANDA, etc
 
Among the individual victims of this Mafia, there are:
 
· Mr. KABUGA Félicien
· Col. Laurent SERUBUGA
· Mr. Michel BAGARAGAZA
· Col. Théoneste BAGOSORA
· Mr. Joseph NZIRORERA
· Mr. Mathias MYASIRO
· Mr. Laurent SEMANZA, etc..
 
This Mafia network also indulged in unlawful selling of movable
property and fixtures. For instance, during the June-October 2000
period alone, some 40 properties belonging to individuals or to
companies were auctioned off under the pretext of recovering the
unpaid credits that were owed to BACAR before the 1994 war.
In the network's driving seat was Mr. KAJEGUHAKWA Valens in person,
Chairman of the Board of Directors and its Permanent Committee,
assisted by his son KAJEGUHAKWA Christian ( = MURWANASHYAKA not
KAJEGUHAKWA : Translator's note), the rest of the managerial staff
being mere instruments of execution passive or active, under the
influence of corruption or threats and intimidations exerted upon
them by their bosses. It stands to reason therefore that it was
thanks to his position that Mr. KAJEGUHAKWA marshaled, regimented and
controlled his realm as he wished.
 
The misappropriation of bank accounts was effected in three laps:
· Lap One: Transfer of existent accounts belonging to
parastatal companies and individuals to non-existent accounts operated
by Mr. KAJEGUHAKWA himself and his son Christian.
· Lap Two: Appropriate the said accounts by transferring them
to his own accounts and those of his relatives.
· Lap Three: Transfer the accounts to foreign banks, especially
American and South African ones.
 
The findings of my investigations are that, this operation that I
find to be a perfect example of money laundering took several months
and was crowned by the fabrication of a "disquette" showing a
financial situation contrary to the reality and, consequently, from
which old holders of big accounts who went into exile after the 1994
war were left out.
In light of these findings, it is crystal clear that Mr. KAJEGUHAKWA
didn't give a hoot about rules governing the banking profession. In
the bank realm, the client is a King and the golden rule number one
is the security of the accounts. In other words, even in the event
that the bank should be gutted by fire, the client's accounts must
not be.
 
In light of all this therefore, the BACAR AFFAIR might go down in
clients' accounts management history as a unique case. Where were
BACAR Managers, Heads, when this was taking place? Yours and mine is
not to ask why but to look at the facts. They are there, glaring,
dazzling. Ignorance of rules or sheer acts of fraud and Mafia? Mere
greed? Sabotage ruses marshaled by Mr. KAJEGUHAKWA to undermine the
Rwandan Government but foiled right in time? Time will tell.
 
III. THE POLITICAL ALIBI
 
As the Kinyarwanda "UKURI GUCA MU ZIKO NTIGUSHYA" proverb goes, TRUTH
WILL BE OUT. It is just a matter of time. Hard times on our
country, this proverb seems to have lost value, especially for the
last few years during which wisdom seems to have given way to
falsehood, intrigues and selfishness, and "PATR-EATISM" to have
overthrown PATRIOTISM as glaringly instanced by the KAJEGUHAKWA case.
From all this it follows that, it is extremely elephantine of Mr.
KAJEGUHAKWA to become the innocent with the world and to claim that
he is being victimized by the politics of the Rwandan Government.
Homespun philosophy demanded that he keep his head and prepare his
defense against charges leveled against him instead of wasting time
lying in his teeth and diverting the public's attention from the
truth of the matter.
 
In his August 21, 2001 memorandum, he wrote that "External and
Internal Security Officers backed by the Director of Public
Prosecution are after me". Here, Mr. KAJEGUHAKWA simply and plainly
confused the issue with a calculatedly fixed purpose of drowning the
affair. He tried to draw his readers' sympathy and commiseration.
The security services being alluded to in his memorandum have dead
nothing to do with that case of his. The home truth of the matter is
that certain members of BACAR managerial staff were arrested by the
CID with the sole aim of conducting investigations germane to
financial malpractices directly involving the bank's senior managers.
 
Instead of acknowledging the facts, Mr. KAJEGUHAKWA found it more
fashionable to out-do those who opted for the strategy of the
political alibi in order to dodge their responsibilities. Indeed, it
is only once they have reached foreign countries and intend to settle
there for various reasons (personal, economic, fleeing the long arm
of the law, as is the case with KAJEGUHAKWA) that they claim to be
persecuted on political grounds. This new type of disease mostly
affects has-been politicians who go off their head when their careers
are put in jeopardy by judicial cases in connection with illicit
dealings or other crimes. And yet, this new breed of "political
refugees" pass through Kigali Airport proudly brandishing a Rwandan
passport bearing an exit visa duly issued by the Rwandan Immigration
Department. And, no sooner than they have arrived at their
destination, they claim to have escaped by the skin of their teeth,
accusing "President KAGAME's SERVICES" and Senior Army Officers of
having planned to send them to Kingdom come.
 
In a fit of acute delirium, knocked out by the unearthing of
upsetting malpractices in the management of his BACAR and other
related unlawful dealings, Mr. KAJEGUHAKWA now is kicking up a fuss
according to which he and President KAGAME have always had a bit of a
dust-up and that, for this reason, he is being hunted down by
security services. All this in a vain bid to regain credibility in
the eyes of the Rwandan public opinion.
In justification of his self-banishment in the USA, Mr. KAJEGUHAKWA
launched attack after attack on Rwandan Authorities, firing long shot
arguments whose sole merit turned out to be to backfire on him and to
cause him to be self-confounded and enveloped in his own fuss
in as much as he went as far as describing as terrorists, police
officers mandated by the State to conduct investigations on economic
crimes he himself committed.
 
In a final analysis, one can rightly say that the current controversy
over the BACAR Affair has brought into existence two camps. Some
people, moved by sheer emotionalism or by interest, have been trying
to consider the BACAR Affair in the political light while most of
Rwandans find it to be a naked economic crime.
I know from wise experience that it would be sheer insanity jumping
to conclusions before I have carried out my own investigations. The
findings of these investigations of mine allow me to advise my
compatriots to know better than to react on situations about which
they don't have full details.
 
Mr. KAJEGUHAKWA too would do well to dig this. He was one of our
political cadres and in his capacity as Member of Parliament, he
swore by all that is holy that he will serve the people faithfully.
For this reason, he is duty bound to always bear in mind that public
interest comes first and personal interest only later. Just as he
had the guts to spirit away FRW.3 billions, he should have the
courage to shake hands with the long arm of the law and answer the
charges against him. We must never forget that selfish self-seeking
manners like his were the root causes of the 1994 apocalyptic
happenings that beat Rwandan Society to within an inch of its life.
By trying to turn individual funerals into national problems,
Mr.KAJEGUHAKWA tramples down public interest and therefore means to
settle all problems in accordance with his personal interests. The
bad thing with this logic is that, unless we look to it that it is
discouraged with a vengeance, we can kiss morality and patriotism and
national unity and the hoped-for Modern State goodbye.
 
To be continued.
 
 
Louis Claude RUVUNABAGABO
KIGALI
Jan 3, 2002. Rwanda-l