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By Robert Mugabe
Kigali-Rwanda-In one way or the other, the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) has brought a disrepute and confusion to the management of Natural Resources Development (NRD), a local mining company, after providing registration certificates to two different individuals for the position of Managing Director, Great Lakes Voice can reveal.
The confusion has led to the disentanglement of several events at the firm, whose operations are almost now ‘non-existent’, according to various sources who spoke to this publication.
Great Lakes Voice investigations reveals that all woes began on Thursday 02/08/12 when RDB General Registrar, Louise Kanyonga issued Ben Benzinge, a Rwandan businessman, with a certificate of domestic company registration, with a company code 101390940, recognizing him as the Managing Director of NRD.
In other hand, the company’s name and code had already been registered last year on October 12, 2011 and named Roderick Marshall, an American investor, as its Managing Director.
In a spectacular act, Benzinge with the document from RDB as evidence wrote a letter to Marshall through a legal firm, Lex Chambers Ltd revoking Marshall’s position as managing director of NRD and acknowledging Ben Benzinge as the new managing director.
“Acting upon the instruction of the current managing Director, Mr. Ben Benzinge, you are instructed to prepare a smooth handover immediately and proceed to handover to him on Monday 6th August 2012 at 09:00hrs,” the letter which Great Lakes Voice has seen reads in apart
The letter also instructed Marshall to handover company assets worth over Rwf2 billion, including vehicles and mining equipments.
Speaking to RDB’s Ag CEO, Claire Akamanzi, said her office is aware of the issue and is doing everything possible to sort out the issue easily. However, she did not explain why RDB issued two certificates with two different names
“RDB doesn’t determine who to be the managing Director. The two men are share holders in their same company, the general registrar is sorting out those differences,” Akamanzi said also promising Registrar to provide more information
Sources who were at Kimihura NRD offices to witness the apparent handover, Benzinge and his lawyers failed to show up. Sources say Benzinge apparently was advised not to show up because of an imminent arrest by police.
RDB was convinced to suspend the position after Marshall had presented documents showing that he is the legal representative and sole managing director of NRD’s holding company
RDB’s letter to Benzinge and copied to Marshall, which is referred to the suspension of position of managing director of NRD, reads: “Due to these complaints from the authorized representative of the holding company protesting that the interests of the majority shareholder are being jeopardized, we hereby inform you that the position of managing director has been suspended and no person shall hold this position in the company until we have further investigated these complaints to ensure that the interests of all shareholders in NRD are secure.”
This however did not deter Benzinge from using his new acquired authority to fire all staff, shut down as well as, confiscate the company’s property located at the company’s mining concession in Nemba, Bugesera District in the Eastern Province.
Although RDB admits that it was at fault for issuing registration certificates to two different people for the same business, it claims to have jumbled up documents and information during the national company re-registration process that kicked off last year.
“We at RDB are trying to resolve the issues and claims raised by both parties.
We do not want the matter to escalate beyond what it should be. Benzinge says he is a 15 percent shareholder of NRD and probably has a say, although I do not think it shouldn’t overlap the majority shareholder,” an official at RDB who proffered anonymity for he doesn’t speak for this institution said.
When speaking to his friends and partners in business, Marshall doesn’t hide his feelings blaming RDB for “failing to protect foreign investors” saying that he had been treated unfairly regardless of the amount of information he has provided indicating his authenticity.
Mr. Marshal was heard lamenting that “What RDB has literally done, is to deliberately wanting to give a foreign investment worth US$20 million as well as give authorization to a man who is no longer part of NRD.”
Our investigation also reveals that, Benzinge is no longer part of NRD because he sold his shares and received a fee worth €700,000.
All he’s doing now is to sabotage more investments in the company which should have been protected by RDB. Louise Kanyonga, General registrar, had suggested answering our questions in an email but during the press time, she couldn’t answer any citing busy attending to other duties.
Editor’s Note: RDB registrar, Mr. Benzinge and Mr. Marshal are to talk to Great Lakes Voice. Stand by for the next- article
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