Rwanda’s first Gold Refinery faces hitches

On 10 March 2022 at 01:59

Rwanda’s first Gold refinery, Aldango Ltd has started facing hitches after failure to pay taxes. It is said that shareholders have started withdrawing their interests.

IGIHE has learnt from credible sources that the refinery is no longer operational because Alain Goetz, an investor owning 50% shares withdrew his interest. Goetz runs other refineries including Aldabra.

Aldango Ltd started operations in 2017 following agreements signed in February 2017. Each of the shareholders including Alain Goetz and Ngali Holdings owned 50 percent shares.

Aldango was initially running as a business dealing in gold and later set up a Gold refinery on the request of the Government of Rwanda.

The refinery opened in June 2019 to melt and process Gold to get 99.99% of quality before exporting to the international market.

However, the plant did not deliver on expectations after inconsistencies in payments of taxes to Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA).

It is said that the plant had the capacity to process at least 480 kgs of Gold within 30 hours.

IGIHE has learnt that the company owed tax arrears worth Rwf113 billion to RRA as at the end of 2019.

RRA approached the company’s management for negotiations, but Goetz refused to pay explaining that he was exempted from taxes when he was granted license to operate in Rwanda.

The investor failed to provide related documents until the case was filed to court.

It is also reported that the investor might have dragged himself in Gold trafficking, hence tarnishing Rwanda’s image.

On 27th January 2021, the Government of Rwanda suspended Aldango’s license to export Gold processed from Rwanda.

IGIHE could not access copies of detailed rulings but learnt that the court ordered the sale of Aldango’s properties to pay the tax arrears.

Following the ruling, the investor expressed dissatisfaction through a statement published on Aldango’s website.

Goetz explained that he was deceived when asked to pay taxes yet ‘Aldango was exempted from taxes in consideration of its major purpose to add value to the gold supply chain and promote Made in Rwanda’.

Goetz underscored that he will not stop complaining to have the assets handed back to ‘the rightful owner’ claiming that he has enough evidences.

One of individuals familiar with the issue has told IGIHE, on condition of anonymity, that Goetz had totally refused to pay taxes.

“The company had accumulated huge tax arrears until RRA exempted fines but it bore no fruits,” he said.

It is said that Goetz might have filed his case to French courts with international competencies to get justice.

We tried to speak to RRA officials but could not get comments by press time.

Aldango Ltd set up plant in Kigali Special Economic Zone in 2019.