Rwanda announces freeze on Libyan hotel assets

KIGALI (Reuters) – The Rwandan government has taken custody of Libyan-owned shares in the Laico Hotel in Kigali, Rwanda’s finance minister said on Monday.

Western countries, the United Nations and the European Union have frozen assets of the Libyan government and the family of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi as part of sanctions imposed after Gaddafi launched a crackdown on an uprising against his rule.

“It is true Laico Hotel assets are frozen. But that freezing here means removal of Libyan influence in the management of the hotel and stopping any transfer of resources to the Libyan government or its beneficiaries,” Finance Minister John Rwangombwa told Reuters.

“Valuation of assets will be done in the near future. Currently, the former chairperson of the board of SOPROTEL, the company which owns the hotel, is the one running the hotel as we look for a professional manager,” he added.

The hotel would revert to its former name of the Umubano Hotel, he said.

The Libyan African Investment Portfolio (LAP) has a 60 percent stake in SOPROTEL while the Rwandan government holds the rest, Rwangombwa said.

LAP owns majority shares in telecoms firm Rwandatel, whose license was revoked last week for failure to meet obligations.

(Reporting by Kezio-Musoke David; Editing by Helen Nyambura-Mwaura and Andrew Dobbie)

Rwanda announces freeze on Libyan hotel assets