A glance at intensified operations against smuggling

On 17 August 2022 at 05:38

The Rwanda National Police (RNP) heightened operations against fraud and smuggling of second-hand clothes and shoes commonly known as caguwa, have continued to yield positive results, thanks to the impact of community policing.

Last week, Police intercepted two people in Rusizi District with 13 bales of second-hand clothes and 410 pieces of traditional garment commonly known as kitenge.

Earlier on August 4, the Revenue Protection Unit (RPU) recovered 1574kgs of second-hand clothes in a house located in Busasamana Sector, Nyanza District, after they were smuggled into Rwanda from the neighboring Burundi through a porous border.

In the same operation conducted on July 27, RPU also impounded a vehicle in Muhanga District, Kanyinya cell in Mataba village loaded with 42 sacks of used clothes weighing 988kgs.

Similarly, five people were arrested on July 13, in Karongi District with 13 bales of second-hand clothes after they sneaked them into Rwanda from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Now, in the latest two separate operations conducted on Monday, August 15, and Tuesday, August 16, RPU and the department of Anti-Smuggling and Organized Crimes (ASOC) arrested six people in Nyabihu and Rubavu districts with assorted goods, including clothes, shoes, prohibited skin bleaching cosmetics and energy drinks,

The goods were sneaked into Rwanda from DRC, according to Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Mucyo Rukundo, the Western Region Political and Civic Education Officer (RPCEO).

In Nyabihu, CIP Rukundo said, Police impounded 10 bales of smuggled used clothes and arrested four people in connection with the acts.

"Residents had earlier shared information with the Police about a group of suspected smugglers, who had sneaked quantities of used clothes into Rwanda from DRC through a porous border in Bugeshi (Rubavu District), and were headed to Bigogwe in Nyabihu District," CIP Rukundo said.

"The suspected smugglers were cut-off in Kora Cell en route to Sashwara market. Those, who were hired to transport the goods dropped them and run away after they saw the Police but the rightful owners were arrested and handed over to RIB at Kanama station while the goods were handed over to Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) in Rubavu," he added.

In the Tuesday operation conducted in Rubavu District, Anti- smuggling unit arrested the duo of Elie Tuyisenge, 29, and Immaculee Mukamana in Akarundo village, Mbugangali cell, Gisenyi Sector with assorted smuggled goods, including 1534 pieces of prohibited skin bleaching cosmetics, 69kgs of second-hand clothes, 35 pairs of used shoes, 3000 pieces of shopping bags, 11 pieces of kitenge, a traditional fabric, and 11 pieces of Exo, an energy drink.

"Tuyisenge and Mukamana are part of a big group that was transporting the goods, which they had smuggled into Rwanda from DRC through Karundo. Police has since established that the goods belong to one Issa Ndungutse of Rubavu, yet to be arrested, who had hired the group to transport them from DRC to unknown location in Rubavu," CIP Rukundo said.

He reiterated the RNP increased operations against smuggling and fraud, and the role of the public through information sharing.

Smuggling is punishable under the East African Community Management Act, which is applicable in Rwanda, which provides that seized smuggled goods under article 199, are auctioned.

A vehicle intercepted transporting smuggled goods is also auctioned and the driver slapped a fine of US$5000.

A taxpayer, who commits fraud, is also subject to an administrative fine of one hundred percent (100%) of the evaded tax and a likely imprisonment of between six months and two years.