Rwanda National Police (RNP) has burst a ring of five individuals, who were masquerading as employees of the Office of Ombudsman and defrauding unsuspecting people.
The suspects were arrested in two separate operations conducted in the City of Kigali and Rusizi, apparently after one of the would-be victim, who had filed for appeal in the Office of Ombudsman after he lost a property case in classical courts, became suspicious and lodged a complaint.
The suspects include a woman identified as Florence Nizeyimana under the pseudo name Aline Mammy – who is said to be the head of the ring.
She holds a bachelor degree in accounting from the University of Rwanda-College of Arts and Social Sciences.
Police identified her accomplices as Eric Rutaganzwa alias Kajangwe and Victor Ndayisabye who was masquerading as Claude, who were arrested in Kigali late last month.
Others are Joseph Ndayishimiye, who was camouflaging as Emmanuel Nkurunziza and Manasseh Makambo under the pseudo names of Jacque Umuhire, both who were arrested with their alleged boss Nizeyimana, on November 8 in Rusizi.
How it unfolded
According to Jean Aime Kajangana, the spokesperson for the Ombudsman Office, they have been receiving reports of people who go around calling themselves employees of the Office of Ombudsman, with intentions of defrauding them.
Among the would-be victims, Kajangana said, include one Fulgence Mpawenimana, who had lost a property case in both Nyarugenge intermediate court and the High Court, and had lodged an appeal in the Office of Ombudsman.
“Along the process emerged one Aline Mammy (Florence Nizeyimana), who claimed to be an employee in classical courts, who supposedly offered to help Mpawenimana with the case, but demanded Rwf400, 000 for the service,” Kajangana said.
Nizeyimana, who hails from Byumba Sector in Gicumbi District, then unleashed Rutaganzwa and Ndayisabye, who he introduced to the would-be victim as employees of the Office of Ombudsman, to follow up and collect the money on her behalf.
However, in order to be very sure of the people he was dealing with, Mpawenimana inquired with the Office of Ombudsman, who distanced themselves from the crooks and in turn informed the Police, which launched investigations.
“We worked with the would-be victim and the Police and first arrested Ndayisabye red-handed in Kacyiru as he received the money before apprehending Rutaganzwa later that day in Nyamirambo,” Kajangana said.
The duo was arrested shortly after communicating with their boss that they had received the money.
In order to effectively track the whole ring, Police switched off the phones of Ndayisabye and Rutaganzwa, which led Nizeyimana to imagine that she had been duped as well and she constituted another team composed of Makambo, who this time came as a judge and Ndayishimiye, who acted as his secretary.
This time, Nizeyimana demanded Rwf300, 000. The trio was also tracked and arrested in Rusizi as they waited for the arrival of their target with the money.
“We call upon the general public to know where and how to get certain services; those who have fallen victim should come forward and facilitate the fight against such malpractices,” Kajangana said.
“There are clear and known ways of paying for a legal service, where applicable, but not paying to individuals on deals done on phones and in isolated places.”
According to RNP spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Theos Badege, Police has a good working relation with the Office of Ombudsman, like any other institution, to fight crime in general.
“We are aware of people who pose as brokers between service seekers and service providers, which affect service delivery, which we can’t allow as law enforcers and responsible Rwandans in general,” ACP Badege said.
He said the suspects face two accounts; fraud under article 318 of the penal code, which stipulates a term of imprisonment of up to five years and a fine of up to Rwf5 million; and usurpation of duties under article 616 whose sentence ranges between one and three years.