Court says Felicien Kabuga’s Nairobi property to remain frozen
Thursday April 27 2023
A property in Nairobi’s Kilimani area belonging to Rwandan genocide suspect Felicien Kabuga will remain frozen after the High Court dismissed an application seeking a review of the decision issued more than a decade ago.
High Court Esther Maina rejected the application by Kabuga’s son Donatien Nshimyumuremyi, seeking to unfreeze the property known as Spanish Villa, which was seized in 2009.
The son took over the fight to free the property from his mother, Josephine Mukazitoni, who died in 2017.
The judge rejected the application saying she agreed with Justice (retired) Muga Apondi for the property to remain protected. “I see no reason to unfreeze the same and the petition is hereby dismissed,” the judge said.
The family wanted to be allowed to access rent from the property saying there was no evidence that it was acquired through proceeds of crime.
The property was frozen after a joint team of investigators from the International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda and the Kenya police was formed in December 2007 to trace Mr Kabuga.
The team later discovered that Mr Kabuga, who was arrested in 2020 in France, was receiving Sh290,000 after every three months from rental income.
The State Law office said they suspected that the money was assisting Mr Kabuga evade arrest and justice, as it was being wired by a firm managing the property – Kenya Trust Company Limited – to an account co-owned by Mr Kabuga and his wife in Belgium.
The son who lives in Belgium told the court that he was granted an order to manage his family’s property, following the death of his mother.
The family maintained that the prosecution failed to show that Mr Kabuga was using the income generated in Kenya to avoid capture and substantially interfere with the prosecution witnesses.
The 90-year-old is alleged to have been the main financier of the ethnic Hutu extremists who slaughtered 800,000 people in 1994.