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Rwanda auctions commercial real estate of exiled tycoon

KIGALI – Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) on Monday auctioned a multi-million-dollar mall located in the center of Capital Kigali, belonging to exiled tycoon Tribert Rujugiro Ayabatwa.

Ayabatwa was listed Africa’s Number 1 Tobacco man by Forbes in 2014. He is the founder and controlling shareholder of Pan African Tobacco Group (PTG), one of the continent’s largest indigenous manufacturer of tobacco products.

He was accused of working with Rwanda National Congress, a political organization formed by Rwandan elements based in exile with intent to topple the government.

During a public auction ceremony, the Union Trade Center (UTC) was bought by local real estate company Kigali Investment Company (KIC) at eight million U.S. dollars, way below 20 million U.S. dollars value announced after its construction.

The sale follows the seizure of the building by RRA in April over nonpayment of taxes amounting to over 1.4 million U.S. dollars accumulated since 2015.

The buyer is expected to pay for tax arrears before taking over the building.

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