EACJ awards Rujugiro $1m in damages for takeover of mall

Saturday September 03 2022
UTC Mall.

The UTC mall in Rwanda. PHOTO | FILE | NMG

By Ange Iliza

The East African Court of Justice has awarded Tribert Rujugiro, the majority owner of the Union Trade Center (UTC) mall in Kigali, $1 million in general damages and the cost of the lawsuit after ruling that the government was in breach of provisions of the East African Community Treaty when it took over and sold the property.

The EACJ delivered the ruling on August 30. The current ruling is fi nal unless Rwanda decides to fi le for revision. Theophile Mbonera, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice told Rwanda Today that the government was disappointed in the court’s decision and that the revision will be filed on the grounds that the plaintiff had no legal reason to sue.

“The mall has legal representatives, but they are not the ones who sued us. We will ask the court to examine the legal rights of the plaintiff to sue on behalf of the mall, among other things,”

Mr Mbonera said, adding that more details about the revision will be revealed after analysing the court’s decision next week. Mr Mbonera said the ministry still stands on the fact that the UTC Mall takeover was consistent with local laws.

In the case that involved Rwanda’s Attorney General and Mr Rujugiro, the court increased the award to $1 million from $500,000 from last year’s ruling. Rwanda appealed for the ruling.

According to a statement by the court, to enforce the payment, Rwanda will include an annual fi ne of 6 percent until the amount is fully paid. The court declined to award compensation for the old mall. The UTC mall’s value is estimated at $10 million.


The case began in 2013 when UTC filled a case at the court, challenging the actions of the Committee in Charge of Unclaimed Property in Nyarugenge district, Kigali, for taking over management of the mall and directing its tenants to pay rent into a bank account in the committee’s name.

Attorney General last year told the EACJ that the Committee took over UTC Mall “as abandoned property” and that the RRA auctioned the mall to recover taxes, both actions done in accordance with the domestic law, hence UTC was not entitled to remedies it sought from the court.