A court action in which industrialist Mironko François Xavier has been seeking back payment owed to him by the government of Rwanda, may have finally come to an end.
Mironko is a known brand name in Rwanda, owing to his plastics factory. He is the first Rwandan to start and own a factory decades ago.
As a back and forth controversy over the plight of his plastics factory remains unresolved, Mironko’s woes appear to be getting from worse to worst.
The first instance division of the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) has dismissed Mironko’s case in a decision rendered April 6, 2022.
Mironko had sought intervention of the regional court to compel the government of Rwanda to pay him 47,9900,000 Belgian Francs for Arms delivered in 1993 and 1994.
At the time Belgium was still using Francs, but currently uses the Euro. Exchanged into US dollars from that period, the value is about USD 12.5m. At current value, the amount is much bigger.
The reason Mironko went to EACJ is because he had exhausted Rwanda’s judiciary up to the Supreme Court. All the instances dismissed his case, with the highest court in Rwanda making it’s final decision on April 6, 2017.
Mironko also petitioned the Ombudsman seeking for a judicial review of Supreme Court’s decision, to no avail. The Ombudsman declined to get involved.
Mironko’s case is that sometime in 1993 and 1994, the government of Rwanda gave two companies a tender to supply it arms. The companies were: International Industries SA based in Belgium and Mironko EURAFRIC SPRL based in Luxembourg. Both companies were represented by Mironko himself.
According to court documents, Mironko claims that due to the “confidential character, the urgency of the tender and from exception circumstances that the country was crossing (SIC), the tender was awarded on mutual agreement between both parties as provided by law”.
What this essentially means is that Mironko was single sourced by the government of President Juvenal Habyarimana and probably the interim government, to supply the arms. It could also suggest that no documents were signed, and all transactions were verbal.
Obviously these arms were used by the government to battle Rwanda Patriotic Front/Army rebels of current President Paul Kagame. The same arms were used by the army to carry out the genocide against Tutsis, which the rebels fought to end.
It is therefore ironic that Mironko expects the successive government to pay for those arms.
Court documents show that Mironko was paid much of money back then, but there remained a balance of 7,100,000 Belgian Francs (or about $184,000 from the exchange rate of that period).
In its defense, the government of Rwanda through the Justice Minister and Attorney General, argued that the case was time barred and that Mironko could not prove beyond doubt that indeed he had a such a tender from the state of Rwanda.
As par the exchange rate today, the amount Mironko claims to be owed by the state of Rwanda, is in the billions of Francs. Had the court’s ruled otherwise, the Rwandan taxpayer would have had to foot the bill for arms procured to kill the very Rwandans.
Mironko can appeal to the EACJ appeals chamber if he indeed wants to recover his money whatever the circumstances.