COVID-19: Police arrest 12 violators in house party

On 26 April 2021 at 06:15

Rwanda National Police (RNP), on Sunday, April 23, arrested 12 people in Kibagabaga Sector, Gasabo District where they were found gathered in a house drinking.

Social gatherings are prohibited under the government directives to prevent further spread of COVID-19.

The group, which was showed to the media on Sunday, April 25, at the Police Metropolitan headquarters in Remera, was found in the house of the singer, Joshua Tuyishime also known as Jay-Polly.

They were at the time drinking and abusing narcotic drugs, RNP spokesperson, Commissioner of Police (CP) John Bosco Kabera, said.

Among the violators were also three foreign nationals, who were found with forged COVID-19 negative test certificates.

The certificates were allegedly falsified by one Rodrigue Maniriho, a clinical laboratory scientist at Kibagabaga hospital, who is also among those arrested at the house.

Rapper Jay Polly argued that the social gathering was not planned.

"On April 23, I received at my home three visitors; two Americans and a Tanzania national, to discuss on commercial adverts they intend to run here in Rwanda, in which I am supposed to feature," Tuyishime said.

He added: "I later left them at home with my young brother but when I came back from the studio I found them drinking. They later invited their friends and the number increased to 12 as the Police found us at home."

He admitted that their actions were in violation of the directives.

"You cannot know who is infected; one COVID-19 positive person could have easily infected us all and we would in turn spread the virus in our families and communities. I regret the wrongdoing and apologize to my fans, partners, the Police and the general public," said Tuyishime.

Rodrigue Maniriho, a laboratory scientist at Kibagabaga hospital, denied forging the COVID-19 certificates for the three foreign nationals.

He, however, admitted to have issued a falsified certificate to one only identified as Amina whom he claimed to have "helped as a friend without charging her any money."

RNP spokesperson, CP John Bosco Kabera said they disregarded the government directives but also committed criminal offences.

"They did not only violate the directives to engage in prohibited social gathering and drinking; some of them were found smoking cannabis and others forged or used forged Covid-19 test result certificates.

One of the violators came from Mbazi, which is one of the sectors in lockdown in Huye District. Further investigations into all these offences, will be conducted by relevant institutions," CP Kabera said.

He warned health workers against breaching their ethical standards and committing such serious crimes, which can lead to further spread of Coronavirus resulting from such fake results.

He further reminded the general public that COVID-19 tests are for their safety not just a gate pass.

CP Kabera added that after being tested for COVID-19, the suspects will be handed over to Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) for further investigation on different alleged crimes.

Article 276 of the law determining offenses and penalties in general, states that any person, who in any manner, forges or alters documents by forged signature or fingerprint, falsifying documents or signatures or impersonation, forging agreements, its provisions, obligations, or discharged obligations, commits an offence.

Any person, who with fraudulent intention, produces a false written document, causes to write false statements or produces a conflicting declaration, is considered to commit the offence of forgery.

Upon conviction, he/she is liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than five years but not more than seven years and a fine of between Frw3 million and Frw5 million or only one of these penalties.

The article 3 of the Ministerial order nº 001/moh/2019 of 04/03/2019 establishing the list of narcotic drugs and their categorisation classifies cannabis in the category of "very severe narcotic drugs.’’

Article 263 of the penal code, states that any person, who in any way, eats, drinks, injects himself/herself, inhales or one who anoints oneself with psychotropic substances, commits an offence.

If convicted, the offender faces imprisonment for a term of not less than one year and not more than two years or subject to a penalty of community service.