The Rwanda National Police (RNP) Revenue Protection Unit (RPU) has in the last four months, recovered over Rwf413 million taxes that culprits had attempted to evade through various fraudulent means.
The commandant of RPU, Chief Supt. Sam Bugingo said that the recovered taxes between July and October, include revenues that otherwise would have been evaded through fraud and smuggling, and fines levied on the offenders.
RPU is a police unit attached to Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) following a formal agreement signed between the two institutions in 2012, to support revenue collection through fighting fraud and smuggling, among others.
“Most of the commodities intercepted while being smuggled include liquors, baking powder and rice,” CSP Bugingo said.
Others include powdered milk, traditional wear – Bitenge – and cooking oil.
“But we also fight drug trafficking; last month alone, we intercepted 465 boxes of Chief Waragi, one of the banned gins in Rwanda.”
“We conduct operations day and night, but in most cases we work with the people through awareness on ill-effects of smuggling and in turn, they feed us with credible information on smugglers and other people involved in related fraudulent businesses,” CSP Bugingo said.
Meanwhile, Emmy Mbera, the coordinator of Electronic Billing Machine (EBM) in RRA, noted that with the support of RPU, they have since the beginning of this year, managed to arrest 25 holders of EBM, who were using them in fraudulent businesses to evade taxes and to defraud the tax body by claiming tax refunds.
Eight of them were arrested in October alone.
“We have also managed to identify other 700 people, who were working with the holders of EBMs in fraud; they had evaded about Rwf6.7 billion, but they will pay over Rwf12 billion including fines,” Mbera said.
He appealed to the general public to partner with RPU and RRA to fight smuggling and fraud “to protect the general interest and public infrastructures.”
“When you value what, for example, Rwf6.7 billion can do in terms of public infrastructure, they can build about 160 classrooms or 26 health centres. This is why Rwandans should stand up against such malpractices because in the end, the taxes are meant to support them in various development ways,” Mbera said.
This, he noted, requires buyers to always ensure that they are given EBM receipts “because it is their right and an obligation to the seller.”
“If you know or even suspect anyone to be involved in fraudulent means to evade taxes, you can call toll-free lines 3004 and 3005 or inform the nearest police officer or police station, you will have played your part in the development of your country,” he noted.