Rwanda freezes Libyan hotel asset in Kigali


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

Previously managed by such illustrious companies like Accor, the hotel was bought by Gaddafi’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.

Yesterday news also broke that the Libyan majority-owned RwandaTel had their mobile license withdrawn, effectively grounding the company now only left with a reportedly loss-making fixed network inherited from the days when RwandaTel was the only telecom 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 having the worst record with consumers over dropped calls. It was made clear by a source that the regime of Gaddafi was unable to inject the required capital needed to put things right. The latest developments in Libya also suggest the man has other concerns right now other 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” [quiet] over the fate of Libyan investments, with the deadline of sanctions and asset freezes to be imposed by UN member countries now passed. Sources close to the Laico/Grand Regency Hotel in Nairobi speak of growing uncertainty and suppliers demanding early or cash payments in anticipation that this hotel will also sooner rather than later be frozen.