The districts of Nyarugenge and Kicukiro in Kigali City have frozen bank accounts of Rwanda Electricity Cooperation and Rwanda Water and Sanitation Corporation (RECO-RWASCO) over tax arrears, The New Times has established.
The government utility is said to owe the two districts over Rwf 266m in tax arrears for its properties and plots in both districts which it has not paid since 2002, prompting them to freeze the corporation’s bank accounts in the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR).
Jean Pierre Uwimana, Nyarugenge District Executive Secretary who confirmed the development said that the body owes Nyarugenge alone Rwf 228m.
He said that the accounts were frozen last Friday after RECO-RWASCO failed to respond to several notices which were sent to them as reminders to fulfill their tax obligations.
“We notified them about the taxes they owe the district but there was no response and we decided to act according to the law. RECO-RWASCO is a government business venture and according to the law, they are also supposed to pay taxes,” Uwimana said.
He said that the district is now implementing what the law provides for tax evaders.
“We wrote to BNR and requested them to freeze their (RECO-RWASCO) accounts based on authentic reasons and the law,” he added.
Uwimana added that there are other government organs that have not paid taxes since 2002. Among them, he said are the government information office (ORINFOR) which owes the district over Rwf 20m, ONATRACOM, a transportation agency (Rwf8m) and the Housing Bank of Rwanda (HBR).
“All these bodies and many others, if they don’t respond accordingly, the law will take its course,” Uwimana noted.
When contacted, Yves Muyange, the Director General RECO-RWASCO , refuted the allegations that their accounts were frozen, saying they owe the two districts about Rwf 50m.
“We met) and explained to them which taxes we are supposed to be paying in a certain period and signed two agreements with them,” Muyange said.
He explained that the two districts had included taxes which are not supposed to be paid by the utility.
“Being a utility body, we are only supposed to pay administrative and commercial taxes but not taxes on public infrastructure such as water tanks, transmissions, kiosks, sub-stations and our plants,” he said.
Muyange further added that both districts had included taxes that date before 2005
“According to the law, we are supposed to only pay taxes after 2005 but not 2002 as they allege”.