The results of the operation were made public, yesterday, at the Rwanda National Police (RNP) General Headquarters in Kacyiru.
The two-day operation codenamed ‘Fagia OPSON III’ was conducted between December 20th and 21st, by RNP and other entities including ministries of Trade and Commerce, Health and Agriculture.
Others include Rwanda Standards Board (RBS), Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA), Rwanda Development Board (RDB), and Private Sector Federation (PSF) as well as brand owners.
The regional operation under the auspice of the international police – Interpol – was conducted and results publicized concurrently in all the thirteen Eastern Africa Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation (EAPCCO) member countries.
The assorted substandard, counterfeit and illicit goods seized in the countrywide operation, include foodstuffs, medical drugs, lotions, perfumes and powdered milk.
Others include veterinary drugs, fertilizers and animal feed, alcoholic drinks including wines and spirits as well as locally made alcoholic beverages; either illicit, parked contrary to standards or plagiarized.
Commissioner of Police (CP) Emmanuel Butera, the commissioner for Operation and Public Order in RNP, while releasing the outcome of the operation, warned the business community against “selling and making unauthorized products.”
“This is like poisoning Rwandans, which can’t be allowed; that’s why different institutions and brand owners come together to put ideas and skills together to detect these dangerous products to protect consumers from harm,” CP Butera said.
Desire Musangwa, the head of Industry Inspection in RSB, said that only distilleries and firms dealing in milk products with the S Mark are required to operate.
“Since October, we suspended all distilleries without the S-Mark – Standard Mark – and there are only 12 licensed distilleries; all others were suspended due to standards, which have to be met first,” Musangwa said.
As of end of November, at least close to 80 distilleries that were either operating illegally or centrally to the standards.