Rwanda seizes Tribert Rujugiro Ayabatwa’s investment in tea sector and private residence: UTC Founder

JOHANNESBURG, July 7, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Rwanda government seized Tribert Rujugiro Ayabatwa’s shares in Nshili Kivu Tea Factory (NKTF) on 25 June 2014. The Commission of Abandoned Properties in Nyaruguru District instructed NKTF to deposit any monies or any other benefits due to Ayabatwa in the District’s own bank account for “safekeeping.” By this action, government replaced Ayabatwa as shareholder in NKTF.

In a separate development, the Rwandan authorities seized Ayabatwa’s personal residence in Gikondo, Kigali. In this case, the Rwandan police forced their way into the property, ejected security and staff, and installed their own personnel. This private residence has since been converted into a bar and lodge.

Government claims that Ayabatwa’s assets were taken over because they were abandoned since he does not reside in Rwanda. As Ayabatwa explains, however, this assertion is contrary to Rwandan and universal laws that protect shareholders regardless of whether they are domiciled inside or outside their native countries. “Rwanda seems to be saying that no investor residing outside the country may own shares in Rwandan-based companies – or to be more precisely, a native Rwandan not currently living in his/her homeland may not own assets of any kind in his/her country.”

David Himbara, Senior Advisor to Ayabatwa, agrees that Rwanda’s U-Turn from protecting investors to seizing their assets is troubling and globally recognised as a bad sign. Himbara cites the US State Department’s “Rwanda 2013 Human Rights Report” which lists, among other governmental abuses of power, the illegal takeover of the Union Trade Centre (UTC), Ayabatwa’s US$20 million shopping mall.

In light of seizure of Ayabatwa’s shares in NKTF, confiscation of his private residence and turning it into a bar/lodge, and illegal takeover of UTC, Rwandan supporters, including the United States which is Rwanda’s largest donor, have good reason to worry. Rwanda’s earlier progressive reforms for improving doing business environment, are being be replaced by unpredictable behaviour that renders Rwanda high risk for doing business. This reality puts into question Rwanda’s willingness to wean off aid by building a viable private sector that generates inclusive economic growth and development.

Ayabatwa is a native Rwandan and successful Pan African businessman with interests throughout Africa in cement, real estate, food processing, banking and tobacco. For more information about Ayabatwa, his businesses and philanthropy, go to: http://tribertrujugiro.com/.

For further information:
Media Contact: David Himbara, ptgpr@fastmail.fm

Consumers Who Bought Gray Line or CitySights “Hop-On, Hop-Off” Bus Tours in New York City Could Get a Refund Up to $20 Per Ticket

NEW YORK, July 7, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — The following is being released by the law firm of SUSMAN GODFREY LLP.

There is a $19 million settlement with Twin America, LLC, Coach USA, Inc., International Bus Services, Inc., CitySights LLC, and CitySights Twin, LLC (together called the “Defendants”).

The lawsuit pending in federal court in New York City claims that Coach and CitySights conspired to form a joint venture, Twin America, against state and federal law.  The lawsuit claims that this new company dominated the “hop-on, hop-off” bus tour business in New York City enabling the Defendants to fix ticket prices and reduce competition – resulting in higher ticket prices for customers. The Defendants deny that they did anything wrong.

Generally, the settlement includes anyone who bought Gray Line or CitySights “hop-­on, hop-off” bus tours in New York City from February 1, 2009 until June 16, 2014.

The Settlement Fund will pay:

  • Consumers up to $20 per eligible Hop-On, Hop-Off ticket. 
  • The cost to administer the settlement as well as attorney fees and the payments to the Class Representatives.

If there is any money left in the Settlement Fund after claims, costs, and taxes have been paid, it will be given to the Department of Justice, Antitrust Division, and/or the New York Attorney General’s Office.

Important Information

  • Consumers must file a claim online or by mail no later than January 19, 2015 to receive payment.
  • Consumers who do nothing will not get a payment and give up the right to sue.
  • Consumers who want to keep the right to sue the Defendants must exclude themselves by September 5, 2014.  
  • Consumers who stay in the settlement can object to it by September 5, 2014.
  • The Court will hold a hearing in this case on October 20, 2014, to consider whether to approve the settlement and a payment of attorneys’ fees up to one-third of the Settlement Fund, plus reimbursement of expenses, and a special service payment of $20,000 each to two Class Representatives.

For more information about the settlement or to get a claim form, visit www.TourBusSettlement.com or call 1-866-431-9265.