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Former Rwandan Presidential Candidate Accused of Forgery

Kigali – A former presidential candidate in Rwanda is under investigation for forgery and tax evasion, police said Wednesday, a day after detectives searched her home in the capital, Kigali.

Diane Rwigara is being investigated on suspicion of forging signatures during her efforts to qualify as a candidate, police spokesman Theos Badege said. Police and revenue officials also are investigating her family’s business over allegations of tax evasion, he said.

“Investigations are still going on, but it’s not true that we arrested Rwigara,” Badege said, denying reports that Rwigara was in custody.

Rwigara has not commented on the allegations, but she has said she has been targeted over her criticism of President Paul Kagame’s government and its human rights record in the East African nation.

Kagame won re-election on Aug. 4 with over 98 percent of the vote, though human rights groups long have accused the government of targeting and harassing the opposition.

Rwigara was disqualified as a candidate after allegedly failing to collect enough supporting signatures ahead of the election. According to electoral laws, independent presidential candidates are required to present 600 signatures, with at least 12 from each of Rwanda’s 30 districts, in order to run for president.

Rwigara turned in signatures of some people who had been long dead and others who belonged to a rival political party, according to Rwanda’s electoral commission.

Rwigara is the daughter of the late Assinapol Rwigara, a tycoon who fell out with Kagame before his death in a car accident in 2015.

Kagame has been de facto leader or president since the end of Rwanda’s 1994 genocide.

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