Rwanda news update – Government freezes Libyan hotel asset


Following in the footsteps of Uganda’s decision last week to also freeze, amongst other businesses, the Laico Lake Victoria Hotel asset of the Libyan regime, Rwanda followed suit yesterday by doing the same to the Umubano Hotel in Kigali.

Previously managed by such illustrious companies like Accor, the hotel was bought by Gadaffi’s regime – and publicly floated as ‘his property’ – a few years ago. It was learned that the name ‘Laico’ was also being removed from the hotel’s name, making it clear to all that Rwanda is in full compliance with the UN Security Council resolution to freeze Gadaffi’s and his cronies’ assets and impose travel bans.

While it could not be ascertained if board seats held by Libyans and managers installed by Laico were to go too, as was the case in Kenya, this latest action by an African government will deal a further blow to Gadaffi’s waning regime.

Only yesterday did news also break that the Libyan majority owned RwandaTel had their mobile license withdrawn, effectively grounding the company now only left with a reportedly loss making fixed network inherited from the days when RwandaTel was the only telecoms company in the country.

It was stated overnight in a related development that the regulatory oversight body would NOT restore the RwandaTel license under any circumstances, having given them due warning since early January over failures to comply with license conditions, infringed terms of the license and had the worst record with consumers over dropped calls. It was made clear by a source that the regime of Gadaffi was unable to inject the required capital needed to put things right and the latest developments in Libya also suggest the man has other concerns right now than the fortunes of some of the companies he acquired with funds belonging to the people of Libya but nevertheless for long treated as his own.

Kenya in contrast has remained shtumm over the fate of Libyan investments, with the deadline of sanctions and asset freezes to be imposed by UN member countries now passed, but sources close to the Laico / Grand Regency Hotel in Nairobi speak of growing uncertainty, suppliers demanding early or cash payments in anticipation that this hotel too will sooner rather than later be ‘frozen’.

Watch this space.