UPRONA: Misappropriation of its property?

Voices rise against the sale of UPRONA party’s property. The party’s president rather speaks of making it profitable.

Ceremonial hall and the two sports grounds still under construction.

Ceremonial hall and the two sports grounds still under construction.

Tensions are running higher within UPRONA party. Outcries come from everywhere. Both within the institutional UPRONA and that of the opposition converge on one cause to defend: land property. A piece of land of 1hectare located at Kamenge area, 2ares and 8centiares have been sold to Kamenge Business Center company at the amount of BIF 700 million, according to the available contract of sale . A house of the same party located at Uprona Boulevard, which once sheltered the printing house of the party, is also said to have been sold. Reliable sources reveal that a certain Rurimirije would declare himself the owner of the house and some dealings would be ongoing already. On the side of the institutional party, a high placed person, who spoke on condition of anonymity, denounced Abel Gashatsi, the chairman of the party as well as the first Deputy President of the Republic of Burundi, Gaston Sindimwo , as being at the origin of what he called the mismanagement of the party’s properties.

We have learned that the piece of land has been sold to more than one billion. “The problem is to know where the BIF 300 million amount is.” Another source again from the institutional party expresses doubts concerning the management of the money resulting from the sale.”We are requiring an audit to know how the money was spent.” He mentioned that last week, Gaston Sindimwo and Abel Gashatsi had summoned the executive board to sell the house. The latter replied that no more sales would be made.” We warn any purchaser against buying the property of UPRONA without all required signatures.” According to our source, an instruction has been given to Abadasigana (UPRONA members):” Never allow anyone to sell your lands”.

Outcries are also heard from the UPRONA of the opposition. Tatien Sibomana one of the leaders of the non-institutional Uprona says he is taken aback by the “deliberate will” of organs which he qualifies as illegal and illegitimate but claim to be at the head of the party.”An inexorably growing desire to steal the properties of Uprona”

The president of the non-institutional Uprona, Evariste Ngayimpenda, on his behalf sent a correspondence to the Director of Land Titles with copies to all notaries, the president of the bar as well as to all the banks, in the name of the central committee of the party elected in 2009.

The target was that at the end, the operation of the illicit sale, which has to end by the transfer of the land, does not take place.”We have informed the Office of Land Titles at the right time so that the operation would not be endorsed by the direction in charge of the legality of the property transfer.

Abel Gashatsi denies categorically the accusations

Abel Gashatsi’s leadership is accused of mismanaging the properties of Uprona.

Abel Gashatsi’s leadership is accused of mismanaging the properties of Uprona.

The president of the institutional UPRONA denies the accusations and speaks of people jealous of his achievements within almost one year at the head of the party. He says the present direction has inherited the party with organizational and financial problems. The party’s coffers were empty. He mentioned a loan worth BIF 50 million granted by the Burundian Bank of Commerce and Investment (BBCI) in 2005. That debt has become huge because of the delay in paying it back until it reached BIF147million.The bank threatened to seize the CFA ground located at Jabe, in Bwiza zone of Bujumbura city and another one which is at Bururi province center where the office of the party is located. Those plots were given as a mortgage. He also mentions a land located in Cibitoke area in Bujumbura city sold to the archdiocese of Bujumbura between 2006 and 2007.

When he became the party’s president, he said he had promised Abadasigana to revalue and make profitable the legacy of the party the reason why he asked the president of the Superior Council in charge of the party’s orientation to inform members about the difficulties the party faces. A meeting of the Executive Board was also summoned. At the end, a decision was made: “The sale of the land located at Kamenge , which was occupied by people who bring nothing to the party.” A deal of BIF700 million. However, only BIF 650 million was put in the coffers of Kumugumya (UPRONA’s national office) after paying the commissions. The report on the use of that amount was given to the Executive Board of the party on Friday 28.” And all the members appreciated the work of the current management.”

After setting apart the amount that would help us in the next elections, the amount served to clear the debt owed to BBCI and to recuperate the lands and CFA ground.

It also helped to get back a land in Cibitoke area which was sold at BIF60 million to Bujumbura archdiocese and build a hall of ceremonies as well as volleyball and basketball grounds at Kumugumya.

The UPRONA chairman proudly showed these evidences-from a certificate proving that the party does not owe any money to the Burundian Bank of Commerce and Investment (BBCI) for a credit of 147 million negotiated and paid to 97 million as an act of renunciation of the mandate to mortgage the two plots of land.

He says he did it through a privately negotiated agreement with Bujumbura archdiocese after the payment of BIF60 million in February 9, 2017. In the evidences, there is also acknowledgement of receipt of the title deed of this land and the paper attesting the deposit of the sum to the bank. Documents are safely kept as well. Gashatsi also talks about the renovation of the chief’s office, pointing out a brand new ceiling as well as the air conditioner. He says: “the current leader manages to recover plots of land sold and mortgaged by our predecessors”. The management at the head of which I am, is building a conference hall and sports grounds and this in less than a year. Who is better?

What about the party’s regulations?

Tatien Sibomana against "A will to steal properties of Uprona party. »

Tatien Sibomana against “A will to steal properties of Uprona party. »

The deputy president and the acting president of Uprona wing of the opposition , Evariste Ngayimpenda talks about fraudulent sales. He refers to the judgments Rap 34 35 and 36 rendered by the Administrative Chamber of the Supreme Court in September 11, 2012. According to this court, only the central committee elected in 2009 remains the legal decision-making body of the party. Ngayimpenda also assures that under article 49, paragraph 2 of this political formation, it written that only the central committee is competent to decide the disposal of the immovable property of the party. Consequently, in his view, any sale agreement or assignations under any form whatsoever remains illegal insofar as it is not the result of the legal decision-making body according to the rules that govern the party and contained in its by-law, especially in its article 33, paragraph 2.

That is why the central committee of UPRONA party elected in 2009 issues a warning to any purchaser who will get the property of the party or anyone who would attempt to do so from “the organs from a pseudo-congress held in Gitega in Septembre 16, 2012, the so called general congress held in July 22, 2014 and especially the last so-called congress that put in place the current organs”.

He discourages purchasers and instead invites them to give it back without delay because according to Ngayimpenda, who was the spokesman for the 2009 central committee, “he buyer will be considered as dishonest with legal consequences”.

In fact, according to Ngayimpenda, “all these pseudo-organs which have succeeded one another so far are illegal in view of the statutes of Uprona party and the aforementioned judgments of the Administrative chamber of the Supreme Court and therefore have no power to sell the property of the party”.

Abel Gashatsi says the only central committee is the one recognized by the Government and which claims the value of UPRONA statute and has a legal permission to work in Burundi, with a central committee and executive committee office which are always consulted when it comes to taking decisions.

Moreover, the head of Uprona indicates that the internal dissents within the institutional Uprona are not related to the mismanagement of the leadership. According to Gashatsi, the vacant position of the MP of the East African parliament has been desired by people using manoeuvering and pressure here and there but to no avail. It was up to the leadership of UPRONA to point out the person who, for him, seemed more likely to represent the party. It is in that perspective that Marie Claire Burikukiye was elected. “It is the same people who are currently making baseless accusations”