MPs want data on abandoned property

igisimentiAn abandoned building at Gisementi in Gasabo District belonging to Etienne Nzabonimana, a Genocide convict serving time in a Belgian prison. The New Times/ T. Kisambira.


Members of Parliament have called for the establishment of a comprehensive and validated database to ease the management of abandoned properties.

The legislators agreed to set up a unit in charge of “close coordination” to liaise with grassroots leaders so that information leading to a centralised database is gathered.

There is no reliable database on abandoned property countrywide, members of the Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said yesterday.

The committee was scrutinising the Bill seeking to review the 2004 law on management of abandoned property.

The law under review was enacted after government realised that some abandoned property was being misused.

Abandoned properties, largely houses and land, include those abandoned during and after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and later occupied by people returning from exile and survivors of the Genocide.

This issue must be addressed to facilitate the management of such abandoned property, the MPs told officials from the Ministry of Justice.

The officials, led by Mary Saba, director of abandoned property, and Samuel Ngirinshuti, a state attorney in charge of legislative business, were appearing before the committee to defend the proposed law.

According to a June 2013 parliamentary report, in Gasabo District alone, there are 28 abandoned houses and three plots.

PAC chairperson Juvénal Nkusi said this was unacceptable.

“In Remera, there are five known abandoned houses. Three of them belong to Etienne Nzabonimana,” Nkusi said.

Nzabonimana’s three abandoned properties are reportedly occupied by traders, ADPR Rukiri Group and Ravissante Uwase.

In Kacyiru, there are five recorded abandoned properties, including a house owned by Maj. Bernard Ntuyahaga, according to the MPs.

Ntuyahaga, a former Major in the Genocidal regime’s army was sentenced by a Belgian court, to 20 years in prison for the murder of UN peacekeepers and Rwandan civilians.

In Kimihurura, only nine properties, including one plot of land are registered. Three of these belong to the most wanted Genocide suspect, Felicien Kabuga, the chief financer of the 1994 massacres of the Tutsi in Rwanda. The list of abandoned property in Kimihurura also includes a plot of land belonging to  Rafiki Nsengiyumva, a Genocide suspect living in France.

Saba said a special unit will be set up in the ministry to coordinate issues.  She told MPs that in the past, people tasked to register abandoned property had no formal structure, a situation which hindered the task, adding that it is one of the  reasons why the law is being                                                       amended.

MP Theogène Munyangeyo, a former Gasabo District official, said people should be encouraged to volunteer information on abandoned property.

Last year, the Ministry of Justice informed Parliament that the 2004 law establishing bodies in charge of abandoned properties limited them to the district level, leaving a vacuum at the grassroots.

se commissions, according to the ministry officials,  were ineffective partly due to lack of willingness on the part of the public to provide information and lack of funds.

The cabinet on September 2009 recommended the establishment of a department in charge of the abandoned property.

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Categories: Reparations

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