By Simon Masaba & The Kampala Sun
Ugandan TV personality Junior Dave Kazoora, also known as JK, is set to appear before a court in the Rwandan capital Kigali on Monday, New Vision has learnt.
Kazoora was arrested on Thursday last week by Rwanda Police over alleged charges of fraud, and has since remained under police custody in the capital.
He was apprehended over a spate of financial atrocities, claimed to have been committed between 2012 and 2013.
The Interpol chief, Asan Kasingye, says the local TV personality would “appear before a court in Kigali today to answer charges of his crime.”
He was arrested over breach of trust, the police chief said on Saturday, adding that the offence is a “criminal matter in Rwanda, unlike in Uganda where it is a civil case”.
Kasingye said Kazoora’s lawyers are working with the Ugandan embassy in Kigali to have him released pending ongoing investigations.
Kazoora opened up a media advertising company with a friend but later disagreed, prompting him (Kazoora) to open another company with similar names, which is pointed at as breach of trust.
A source at Rwanda Revenue Authority tax department said that a taxpayer who commits fraud is subject to an administrative net of two hundred percent (200%) of the evaded tax.
In case of conviction, the taxpayer can be imprisoned for a period between six (6) months and two (2) years. This applies if the taxpayer voluntarily evaded such tax, used false accounts or falsified documents.
The Kampala Sun recently reported that the criminial intelligence department summoned Kazoora to answer charges of tax fraud and evasion amounting to over Rwandan Francs 30m (about sh120m).
How it all started
Kazoora (left) at work
According to The Kampala Sun, an aggressive Kazoora ventured into Kigali in 2012, bristling with ideas for TV production.
Aided by his poise, he passionately spoke about his love-TV. His persuasive skill abetted by big talk about being the best thing to happen to Ugandan TV, swayed a businessman, Davis Genza.
As he (Genza) housed and fed Kazoora, they built a strong bond. Kazoora walked his talk. Soon after, they opened what became one of the biggest TV production companies in Rwanda.
It was duly called Buddies Production Rwanda(Ltd). They employed over 30 staff.
As Managing Director, Davis Genza was fully responsible for all the operations of the company. Both Genza and Kazoora were signatories on the company accounts and shared the company’s liabilities.
Using Kazoora’s sugar coated tongue and Genza’s connections; they hit it o on the runway. They got an 80m (Sh320m) Rwanda Francs contract with Airtel Rwanda, to shoot a countrywide campaign called Birahebuje One.
The then Rwanda Airtel country manager, Marceellin Paluku endorsed JK and lucky customers won lap tops, cows and houses.
It was so successful; they shared everything together with a minor partner called Dennis brought in by Kazoora to do the filming.
Kazoora talks big
Buoyed by the success of the project, Kazoora was in the mood to grant media interviews in Rwanda and Uganda about Birahebuje One.
In one interview with Rwanda’s New Times, he detailed how his foray into Rwanda was akin to a second home coming. Buddies Production was going places.
In a few months, they had inked a deal with new TV entrant TV10 to generate content for the Remera based station.
According to him, Buddies Production was not the limit to his TV adventures. He then contended that with the right partners, he would start his own fully fledged TV station in the not-so-distant future.
“I think I am best at anything TV. And that’s what I want to concentrate on, at least for now, even though I know that I am also good at events. I don’t want to lose focus,” he revealed in the interview.
He even detailed how he intended to acquire a Rwandan passport and then embark on looking for the right partners in Burundi and Tanzania to set up Buddies TV Production across the region. His target was to start four TV stations across the region.
Kazoora gets greedy?
Kazoora with his wife
Fast forward. The big talking Kazoora became greedy. He harassed Davis all the time, asking for money.
But he (Genza) advised him to exercise restraint since the money on the account had to also take care of the company’s liabilities,” the source says.
Kazoora was adamant that moneys had to be spent and insisted that money for the company’s liabilities would be accrued from Birahebuje 2 campaign. His pressure yielded. He was given some money.
When Genza was busy preparing for his wedding, it is said Kazoora without the knowledge of his partner, made a few changes and withdrawals.
With Genza away, Kazoora was in charge. “His true colours manifested,” said a source.
According to the source, Kazoora went behind Genza’s back and secretly registered a company called Buddies TV, which specialized in the same activities as Buddies Production (Ltd).
“He used his newly formed company and went to Airtel. He got the Birahebuje 2 contract and used all the employees of the first company to run the operations. In doing so, the source explains that Kazoora smartly hoodwinked the Airtel officials who assumed it was business as usual.”
Kazoora pocketed 30% (Rwandese Francs 24m) of the total amount of the new contract, valued at Rwandese Francs 80m.
He never needed second invitation to go and bask in the Dubai sun. He reportedly used the chance to shop for the wife Patricia and set for her a trendy clothes shop. His workers meanwhile yawned.
When Kazoora returned to Kigali from Dubai via Kampala, he had the 70% of the money on his mind. Unknown to him, his partner had made a startling discovery.
“Genza, who also returned from honeymoon, was trying to follow up with campaign two. He went to Airtel wanda and was told that his partner, Kazoora had signed on his behalf claiming he (Davis) was away on honeymoon,” the source revealed.
At the same time, all employees came to Genza asking for their salary arrears and Rwanda Revenue Authority came in demanding their dues. It was then that things got out of hand. Kazoora denies wrong doing.
With the Dubai hangover, Kazoora was met in Kigali by a stern partner who demanded answers. His response?
He hadn’t done anything wrong and never owed any monies since the new contract was his (Kazoora’s).
Davis (Genza) went to Rwanda Development Board and after lengthy meetings with the registrar; it was declared that what Kazoora did was heavily punishable under Rwanda law.
His company was deregistered and Buddies TV was no more. A copy of a letter from Rwanda Development Board (Office of the Registrar General) addressed to Kazoora, the Managing Director of Buddies TV and copied to Genza, the Managing Director of Buddies Production (Ltd), says that Kazoora’ s Buddies TV limited was erroneously registered.
It details that while, Buddies Production (R) Limited, under company code 102818462 was registered on 22,
October 2012, Kazoora went ahead and registered another company Buddies TV Limited, company code 103131014 on 6th November 2013.
A source in Kigali told The Kampala Sun that after Kazoora was served with the written notice, requesting him to change the name within 30 days, he never heeded. They went ahead and closed Buddies TV Limited.
The Kampala Sun reported that Kazoora started badgering his partner to talk things over. But since the partner had refused to grant him audience, Kazoora went gone ahead to hire a Lawyer in Kigali.
When contacted, Davis Genza declined to delve into the details but offered that he has since chosen to ignore Kazoora and focus on his other business.
“What is all that nonsense?” Kazoora fumed when the nitty gritty was broken down for him. “I have worked hard to build Buddies brand across the region and that guy thinks he can just steal it from me? He is taking advantage of being a citizen to intimidate me, but I am ready for this fight,” he said.
Kazoora had initially feigned ignorance of the summons saying, “I have never seen any police summons. You are telling me news”, but later confirmed receipt and firmly stated that he duly reported to police so they can sort out the matter only for Genza not to turn up on all occasions.
“With tax fraud and evasion I recently paid 20 million Rwandan Francs (sh80m) in taxes. All staff at Buddies were paid. The only person we had payment issues with was Ange Mulisa who was presenting an entertainment tv magazine. She was being over paid; sh2m for a weekly show without sponsors. I called for a review of her salary but Genzi didn’t want to hear none of it.”
“I want us to close Buddies Production company, but Genza doesn’t want because he knows I am the guy making things happen. Even the initial investments were all from my pocket not his. I have contracts with other companies including Airtel, which is going to clear the remaining 50% payment for Birahebuje 2 before the campaign starts in two weeks."
Kazoora due to appear in Kigali court