Africa-Press – Rwanda. Several investors are suing Tom Transfers Company – a dealer in apartments and car rentals in Rwanda and other countries – for duping and swindling cars worth over Rwf2 billion from them.
Speaking to The New Times, the representative of the investors who preferred anonymity, said that they gave money to Tom Transfers Company to import cars for them but since May this year they have neither received their cars or been reimbursed.
“Some ordered cars for immediate use in their daily life while others would order for cars and Tom Transfers company remain with them, rent them out and give the owners profits. They had to sign rental contracts with the company,” he explained.
The source as per the agreement, he was due to receive Rwf1 million rental fee every month from Tom Transfer which was using his vehicle that is worth Rwf10 million.
“We signed the contract in May this year but until now I haven’t received a single coin from the company and I never got my car which I bought,” he said.
The source added that company requested a three-month grace period but the three months elapsed in August this year without paying the clients.
“In August the company again told us to wait for another three months until January next year. We have no hope and that is why as a team we are filing a case against him in the commercial court. We need to get back Rwf2 billion but the amount is more than this considering there are hundreds of other clients that have lost money to Tom Transfers Company. Some have already individually filed the case in court while others are working in groups to file cases,” he said.
The New Times has learnt, from the victims, that the owner of Tom Transfers Company, Thomas Munyaneza, has escaped to Belgium while other victims say he might be hiding somewhere in Rwanda
“RIB is aware and we are waiting for its intervention,” the victim said.
Victims saddled with debts
Another victim of the duping ordered vehicles worth Rwf100 million but has not yet received any car or money from the company.
“Conflicts are escalating in our families. Children have no school fees and we are not paying back loans we got from the banks. We are suffering from depression,” he said.
One victim who bought two cars worth Rwf20 million in December 2021 said that she is saddled with such debt she got from the bank which she is failing to pay back now.
“The company had to remain with my cars and pay me Rwf1 million every month for renting them. The bank could auction my properties if nothing is done. We heard that some cars and properties were confiscated by Rwanda Revenue Authority, courts, and banks.
So, we are wondering where Munyaneza put our money. RIB and the government should intervene even if he is out of the country and be brought to book. We need transparency,” she said.
The victim filed the case to commercial court for the first car he bought last year and she is joining another team to file a case on cars ordered in May this year.
“Government institutions that deal with trade and crimes should intervene in handling this matter because most of us bought cars on loans,” she said.
Another victim told The New Times that she joined Tom Transfers and ordered a vehicle worth Rwf10 million car last year.
“I got money from the Bank of Kigali but since May this year the company stopped paying me Rwf1 million rental fees every month and I have not even got my car or money. I am not paying back the bank loan. The owner of the company was even issuing bounced cheques and he disappeared,” she said.
RIB files the case to the prosecution
Thierry Murangira, The Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) spokesperson told The New Times that since July this year, RIB received cases of 90 clients suing Thomas Munyaneza- who represents Tom Transfers Company” over swindling Rwf800 million from them.
“ The company is being accused of four crimes. These include fraud, Forgery, falsification, and use of forged documents, Breach of trust as well as bouncing cheques,” he said.
Murangira explained that the company used different tricks to dupe the clients.
“ The company tells people that it imports cars for them and then rents them after they arrive in the country. While the client would be waiting for the imported car, they would be given a temporary car to use when they needed it.
Those in need of rental fees could also start receiving the money every month even when the cars were not yet imported. Some bought cars but never got them,” he explained.
He said the case is the process of being transferred to prosecution.
“After realizing that he is being sued, Thomas Munyaneza escaped,” he said.
The company which launched its business in Rwanda in 2020 is said to be operating in the countries of Rwanda, DRC in Goma city, Senegal, Belgium, Korea, Canada, Holland, Germany, Luxembourg, and France according to information on their website.
The New Times tried to speak to Thomas Munyaneza, the proprietor of Tom Transfer Company but was unreachable.
Willy Ernest Uwimana, in charge of Administration and Finance at this company, told The New Times that their office is still operating but pledged to share details about the issue at their offices in Kicukiro district as he was reluctant to explain the matter on mobile phone.