Eight arrested over illegal mining, bribery

On 25 October 2021 at 04:44

Eight people were arrested on Friday, October 22, in a Rwanda National Police (RNP) operation against illegal mining activities in Rutongo mines in Burambi Village, Mahaza Cell, Ntarabana Sector, Rulindo District.

The suspects belong to the same group, which has been conducting illegal mining and related unlawful mineral trade in Rulindo.

Seven of the suspects were arrested red-handed in Rutongo cassiterite concession, the District Police Commander (DPC) for Rulindo, Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Pacifique Semahame Gakwisi, said.

They are Theoneste Mvukiyehe, 24, Fabrice Sibomana, 38, Eric Mbarushimana, 19, Jean Paul Bunani, 19, Charles Nduwayezu, 42, Eric Rwamihanda, 23, and Theoneste Manirafasha, 37.

Information about the group of illegal miners was shared by security guards at the concession, the DPC added.

"Another suspect identified as Emmanuel Habimana, 34, was arrested later trying to bribe the driver of Rutongo mining company with Rwf500, 000 to help him convince officers to release his colleagues," CIP Gakwisi said.

He explained that the driver called the Police to report the alleged bribery and Habimana was arrested in the act.

The DPC said that the group was at the time arrested with seven sacks of unprocessed cassiterite minerals and traditional tools, which they were using.

The suspects were handed over to RIB at Murambi station for further legal process.

Article 54 of the law N° 58/2018 of 13/08/2018 on mining and quarry operations, states that; any person, who undertakes mineral or quarry exploration, exploitation, processing or trading without a licence, commits an offence.

Upon conviction, the offender is liable to imprisonment for a term of between two and six months and a fine of not less than Rwf1 million and not more than Rwf5 million or only one of these penalties.

The court also orders confiscation of any seized minerals or quarry in storage, trading or processing without a license.

Under article 4 of law n° 54/2018 of 13/08/2018 on fighting against corruption, any person who solicits, accepts or receives, by any means, an illegal benefit for himself/ herself or another person or accepts a promise in order to render or omit a service under his or her mandate or uses his or her position to render or omit a service commits an offence.

Upon conviction, he/she is liable to imprisonment for a term of more than five years but not more than seven years with a fine of three to five times the value of the illegal benefit offered, solicited or received.

Penalties provided under this article also apply to a person, who offers or promises to offer a benefit, by any means, an illegal benefit for him/ herself or another person to have a service rendered or omitted.

The suspects were arrested on Friday 22nd October 2021.