Rwanda: Private Security Company takes government to court
By Robert Mugabe
· Min Busingye to appear in high court
Kigali, Rwanda-High Court, has summoned Minister of Justice and Attorney General to represent the government in the case involving Internal Security Ministry and ‘dissolved’ private security company (Fodey security & Alarm systems) which have been operating in Rwanda for the last 13years.
Thursday 30, January 2014 at 08:00am local time, High Court will be hearing the case against the government of Rwanda, according to the sermon RADA 0097/13/HC/KIG that www.greatlakesvoice.com has been also signed by Selman Sindayigaya the court clerk ordering the accused (Attorney General and Minister of Justice) to show up on time with all defending evidences in the civil case.
In a spectacular twist, on 08th November 2013, Minister of Internal Security, Musa Fazil Harerimana took a decision to dissolve Fodey Security &Alarm Systems, accusing them of failing to comply with Ministerial order determining the functions and responsibilities of private security companies in Rwanda and a number of malpractices.
According to the Minister Fazil, these malpractices are “acts of theft committed by employees, absenteeism of guards from duty, civil cases instituted by disgruntled employees against Fodey for lack of remuneration, accumulation of VAT arrears and more ghastly, forgery of financial statements designed with intent to evade tax obligations and other unspecified unprofessional behavior.
In a protest letter addressed to the Prime Minister, which this investigative website has seen, states that “the manner in which the Minister imposed the suspension of our company departs significantly from the procedure stipulated in the Ministerial instructions No 01/07 of 19 June 2007 that forms the basis of his decision. The deviation from standard procedure is so glaring as to affront the very notion of good governance….
Furthermore, Article 28 of the Ministerial instructions mandates that a company found to be in contravention of the provisions of the Ministerial instructions can only be suspended following a series of written recommendations from the office of the Inspector General of Police to the defaulting company on how to address their shortcomings a propos the Ministerial instructions.
More importantly, no company can be suspended without prior written warnings. It is a safe proposition that Article 28 envisages suspension as a measure of last resort to be invoked when other measures have failed.” The letter reads in apart.
On the issue of malpractices, Fodey security& Alarm system, Managing Director, Mr. Soyan Omar says “Even if we admit in arguendo that we committed the malpractices adverted to the Minister’s notice, we maintain that these malpractices are not cognizable as grounds warranting the suspension of a security company from carrying out its business. In reclining his decision on factors that fall outside the scope of the conditions specified in Article 3 of the Ministerial instructions, the Minister acted ultra vires and betrays a serious misconstrual of his own Ministerial instructions.”
After the minister’s letter ordering Fodey Security to cease her operation within Rwandan territory, suspiciously Police officers were heavily deployed against Fodey by forcefully undressing guards, taking radios, searching all the premises and confiscating properties. They also ordered Fodey guards to put on uniforms provided by Police officers belonging to other private security companies.
“The majority of these malpractices relate to the private contractual relationship with our clients that do not fall within the ambit of the Ministerial Instructions. Why would the Minister deem it proper to encroach on what is essentially private arrangements between the company and our clients and which do not fall within the purview of the Ministerial instructions….
This is something that we cannot fathom. To suspend our company on the basis of these malpractices therefore amounts to a brazen attempt to micromanage the affairs of the company and especially its relationship with its clients. It goes without saying that these issues do not fall within his competence,” Soyan Omar said.
This month, Fodey security, filed injunction to high court over the controversial dissolve and confiscation of assets which the management insists it was breach of law.
As Police side say they were only implementing the Ministers’ order also working on behalf of Rwanda Revenue Authority, the tax institution has denied requesting for the seizure note and search warrant as a result of tax arrears.
According to the family of the Managing Director of Fodey security, Police confiscated the vehicles and other Fodey properties illegally without seizure note. This was not presented despite the Deputy Managing Director insisting it was the company’s legal right to receive and sign a copy before the process begins.
Editors’ Note: We’re still investigating the circumstances under which this seizure was conducted and the claims of market competition also conflict of interest claims involving Police.