Tribert Rujugiro: A War Criminal Turned Billionaire

Tribert Rujugiro Ayabatwa, a self-declared enemy of the government of Rwanda and the chief financier of Rwanda National Congress (RNC) recently denied claims that he was bankrolling rebel movements planning to overthrow the Rwandan government and claimed that if he decided to help rebel movements, President Kagame would be ousted in less than six months.

Tribert Rujugiro Ayabatwa (Photo:Internet)

To a stranger who doesn’t know Rujugiro, one would think that the old man is innocent, yet The Great Lakes Eye has overwhelming evidence under its custody linking Rujugiro to a series of subversive activities aimed at overthrowing the democratically elected government in Rwanda.

Although he hasn’t formally announced his allegiance to the Rwanda National Congress (RNC) for tactical reasons, he is known to be the Chief Financier of RNC. It is on record that on 20 May 2015, both Himbara and RNC’s Maj. Robert Higiro testified about the alleged human rights record under President Kagame to the US House of Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human rights and International Organizations. The process was fully funded by the Rwandan critic, Tribert Ayabatwa Rujugiro who offered 190,000 USD to Himbara to effect payment to PODESTA, a Washington DC based lobby firm. 

Despite his involvement in subversive activities, the Ugandan government has been trying to sanitize Rujugiro claiming he is a genuine investor although his blood money has been used to facilitate Rwandan subversive groups to destabilize Rwanda. In all his dubious dealings, Rujugiro ensures that he leaves no trace behind that would reveal his involvement in subversive activities.

Besides being a sponsor of Rwandan subversive groups, Rujugiro is also known to be a highly corrupt old man who thrives on preying on economies of poor countries, like the conflict prone DRC and Burundi. In April 2011, the UN Panel of Experts on the illegal exploitation of DRC natural resources listed Rujugiro among those plundering DRC resources. Rujugiro is also on record to have been involved various fraudulent business activities across the globe including tax evasion cases in South Africa, London, Ghana, and Nigeria.

In Uganda, Rujugiro has conspired with the top Ugandan leadership to deprive the state of revenue that ordinarily should go into public coffers to transform the lives of Ugandans but instead, the money is diverted to private gain where senior government officials share the profits with the blood socked tycoon. In order to effectively manage his vast business investments in Uganda including Meridian Tobacco Company Ltd based in Arua District, Uganda, with its head offices in Kireka, along Kampala – Jinja highway, Rujugiro has corrupted high level Ugandan Government officials including Gen(rtd) Caleb Akandwanaho alias Salim Saleh, President Museveni’s young brother by offering him 15% of the shares in Leaf Tobacco and Commodities Company Ltd, another Tobacco company owned by Rujugiro.

In a memorandum of understanding (MoU) of which The Great Lakes Eye saw a copy signed on 13th June 2017 between Leaf Tobacco and Commodities Ltd and Gen(rtd) Caleb Akandwanaho with Tribert Rujugiro Ayabatwa, Gen(rtd) Caleb Akandwanaho alias Salim Saleh was granted 15% of the shares in the company as a silent member without voting powers. The MoU further stated that in return, Gen. Caleb Akandwanaho shall provide security services to the company for its businesses within Uganda and outside the country upon terms and conditions to be specified in the agreement. As a result, Gen. Salim Saleh assured Rujugiro maximum protection during his business errands to Uganda. It is no surprise therefore that the Ugandan leadership has been in bed with Rujugiro thanks to the high level connections the mafia enjoys in the top echelons of the Ugandan leadership.

Sources further report that Rujugiro Tribert Ayabatwa was very instrumental in regard to the 2017 constitutional amendments in Uganda that saw the Presidential age raised to 75 years. Accordingly, he is reported to have released huge sums of money through Gen(rtd) Caleb Akandwanaho alias Salim Saleh to ensure that the constitutional amendments regarding age limit passed without fail. In this regard, he paid hefty sums to Parliamentarians in an effort to persuade them to vote in favor of the envisaged constitutional amendment.

It is assessed that the current red carpet treatment offered to Rujugiro by the Ugandan leadership including granting him interviews intended to demonize Rwanda could be targeting the 2021 Presidential elections where it is reported that a deal has been inked between Rujugiro and Gen. Salim Saleh to provide huge amount of money to the NRM for the Presidential campaigns as a reward for protecting him.

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