940 liters of illicit brew disposed of in Eastern Province

On 24 July 2020 at 09:41

Separate Police operations conducted on Wednesday July 22, in the districts of Nyagatare, Ngoma and Kayonza seized about 940 liters of illicit brew from distillers.

The substances were impounded from five distillers and sellers, who were also taken into custody.

Munyampeta Jean Baptiste, 41, and Eugenie Niwemugeni, 37, were arrested in Tabagwe Sector in Nyagatare with 420 liters of illicit brew locally known as magwingi.

In Kayonza District, Ndego sector, Joseph Bihoyiki, 35, was also arrested with 40 liters of magwingi; in Ngoma, Jean de Dieu Batangimana, 50, was apprehended in Mutendeli Sector with 120 liters of an illicit drink called Viki while in Gashanda, also in Ngoma, one Varene Nyirabagenzi was caught with 360 liters of Ibikwangari.

The Police spokesperson of the Eastern region, Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Hamdun Twizeyimana said that these are "continuous operations against illegal distilleries, which also produce psychotropic substances as well as dealers in these harmful drinks."

"It is not the first time these operations have been conducted; they have been going on for a while now, targeting mainly producers, traffickers and sellers in local bars. These are substances that pose health-related threats to consumers, causing security challenges in one way or another," CIP Twizeyimana said.

He thanked the residents for the continued partnership adding that these successful operations are based on credible information from the people.

"Producers have no license, they operate in unhygienic places, use prohibited and harmful raw materials."

For any distillery to operate, it must have a license and a Standard Mark (S-Mark) issued by Rwanda Standards Board (RSB).

RSB also specifies that “only food grade processing aids recognized as safe for human consumption shall be used during the manufacture.”

Other standard requirements include labeling as a prerequisite; the name of the products, physical and postal address of manufacturer; net contents in milliliters or liters; ethyl alcohol content; date of manufacture and expiry date; storage instruction; statutory warnings; and list of ingredients in descending order.

All drinks with alcoholic content above 45 percent or with unknown alcoholic content are considered as “psychotropic substance.”

Illicit substances are classified as "simple drugs" under article 263 of law determining offences and penalties in general in Rwanda, with an imprisonment of between seven and 20 years, upon conviction.