Illicit brew distiller arrested in Gasabo

Published by Théophile Niyitegeka
On 29 March 2017 saa 09:28
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Rwanda National Police (RNP), yesterday, arrested a 35-year old man who was found with an illicit brew distillery in his house in Kinyinya Sector of Gasabo District.

James Niyitegeka had dug four huge holes in his house where he had buried tanks full of Muriture, an locally made illicit brew.

Muriture, loosely translated as ‘destroyer’ is made up of different substances some of which are dangerous to human health and can lead to death.

Among those substances include urea fertilizers, which is scientifically proven to be dangerous to human health; other substances include sugar, water, sorghum and yeast.

Precisely, besides being a fertilizer, urea can be used to make urea nitrate, a high explosive that is used industrially as well as used to make explosive devices.

Normally, urea fertilizers can be irritating to skin, eyes, and the respiratory tract. Repeated or prolonged contact with urea in fertilizer form on the skin may cause dermatitis.

Muriture is listed as an illegal and dangerous substance in the ministerial order nº20/35 of 09/06/2015 determining unauthorized drinks and other controlled substances classified as narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and precursors.

By the time police busted Niyitegeka, he had 1200 litres of muriture, a quantity he admitted he was producing at least twice a week.

Apparently, he could weigh them in terms of canisters, and he was producing 60 canisters at every production.

It is said that every canister has 36 bottles.

This implies that, if every bottle was to be consumed by one person, at every production, Niyitegeka had the ability of intoxicating 2160 people.

Considering the two production he could make, the suspect had the ability to intoxicate 224,640 people annually.

While speaking before the residents, after his arrest, Niyitegeka said that this is the third time he’s arrested over the same offence.

Addressing residents, Gasabo District vice Mayor in charge of Social Affairs Languida Nyirabahire, said: “Cases of domestic violence and child negligence are common in family that consume such products.”

“The substances used in the making of muriture are poisonous, that’s why people who consume it end up being violent,” Nyirabahire said.

“It’s a shame to have a neighbor producing such substances and you don’t report them. Always report such wrongdoers to the authorities; that’s how you keep your society safe. Niyitegeka is a father of five, could have invested in clean and more profitable businesses.”

RNP spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Theos Badege said that Police has enhanced its operation against manufacture, sell and consumption of illicit brew and gin and that it’s paying off.

“Whenever we seize illegal alcoholic substances or anything that is not licensed to be consumed, we arrest the producers, take samples of the substances to a laboratory for testing. If the results come out with 0.5 methanol and above, then that is considered a drug. We immediately process a case file and transfer it to the prosecution as evidence is court proceedings,” he said.

“People need to know that the reason behind regulating alcohol content is to protect them from substances that may be harmful to their health; it is therefore equally your responsibility to fight these substances.”

The spokesperson, however, pointed out the increased public understanding on the dangers of such substances and reporting the dealers.

“Currently, we are intercepting rackets of drug dealers…the rate at which people give us information about those producing illegal substances is increasing, this is why the numbers of seizures and arrests also go up,” ACP Badege said.

He observed that consumptions of the outlawed substances affects one’s thinking and productivity thus affecting their individual development and being the basis for other crimes like domestic violence, assault and theft.

Article 594 of the penal code stipulates in its second paragraph that, any person who, unlawfully, makes, transforms, imports, or sells narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances within the country, shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of up to five year years and a fine of up to Rwf5 million.