Tribert Rujugiro Ayabatwa Categorically Refutes Claims Against Him by the Counter Extremism Project

TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA, April 19, 2021 /EINPresswire.com/ — Tribert Rujugiro Ayabatwa unequivocally refutes the allegations leveled against him by the Counter Extremism Project (CEP). The slanderous assertions prominently feature in the CEP Report authored by Sir Ivor Roberts titled “An Unholy Alliance: Links between Extremism and Illicit Trade in East Africa.” The Report makes five outrageous claims that portray Ayabatwa as a promoter of illicit trade and a financier of terrorism which threaten the stability of East Africa.

First, the CEP Report asserts that the 2008 UN Group of Experts Report identified Ayabatwa as a major financier of armed groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Inexplicably, the CEP Report did not examine what happens whenever the UN Group of Experts labels an individual a financier of armed groups. The UN Group of Experts conducts robust investigations to verify if indeed the individual in question is guilty of financing armed groups. If no evidence is found to prove that the individual financed armed groups, s/he is cleared of the allegation and the case is closed. If it is determined that the individual is guilty of the deed, s/he is sanctioned with the UN Travel Ban and Asset Freeze. Once sanctioned, the person is placed on the UN Consolidated List which includes all individuals and entities subject to measures imposed by the Security Council. In the case of Ayabatwa, the UN Group of Experts determined that he did not finance armed groups in DRC and the case was closed. Ayabatwa was never listed on the United Nations Consolidated List.

Second, the CEP Report declares that In the years since the 2008 UN report was published, Ayabatwa and his companies continued to be linked to illicit activity throughout the region. The CEP Report does not provide any evidence to sustain this allegation. Third, the CEP Report claims that Ayabatwa’s company, Leaf Tobacco and Commodities Uganda (Ltd) was sued by Mastermind Tobacco Kenya for counterfeiting its products, in addition to flooding the Kenyan market with cheap products. The opposite happened. In 2019, Leaf Tobacco and Commodities Uganda (LTC) took Mastermind Tobacco Kenya to court in Uganda for the two noted reasons. The CEP Report’s fourth allegation is that the Rwanda National Congress (RNC) which was accused by the UN Group of Experts in 2018 of fomenting instability in DRC, is financed by Ayabatwa. But nowhere does the UN Group of Experts or any other independent organization identify Ayabatwa as the financier of RNC.

Lastly, the CEP Report declares that Ayabatwa pleaded guilty to tax evasion before a South African court in 2009. The Ayabatwa’s South Africa tax case was settled out of court, a globally used mechanism for settling disputes.

Commenting on CEP and its report, Ayabatwa observed as follows: “This organization, I am told, has a noble mission of providing indispensable advice to governments on how to deal with the menace of extremism. I would have thought, therefore, that CEP is a credible and well-resourced organization that conducts proper investigations. Disappointingly, it is not. The CEP and the author of their report ought to account for criminalizing me before allowing me to give them the facts.”

About Tribert Rujugiro Ayabatwa
Tribert Rujugiro Ayabatwa is a pan-African industrialist. He is the founder and controlling shareholder of the Pan African Tobacco Group, Africa’s largest indigenous manufacturer of tobacco products. The company, which in 2018 celebrated its 40th year of operations, manufactures cigarettes in nine African countries, namely, Angola, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and the United Arab Emirates. Ayabatwa is also one of Africa’s leading philanthropists. He has helped communities uplift themselves in fields such as education, food security, afforestation, and water-access. Through his non-profit foundation, Ayababwa strives to help young people to gain the practical engineering experience required to enter the job market in Africa. More recently, Ayabatwa assisted governments in the battle against the Covid19 pandemic by contributing medical equipment and foodstuffs during the lockdowns.

David Himbara
PanAfrican Tobacco Group
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Source: EIN Presswire