General public urged to be cautious against counterfeit money

On 29 April 2022 at 05:56

Counterfeit banknotes affect business profits and hurt small or struggling businesses. Economists say that counterfeiting can affect the demand for currency through a loss of confidence in the use of currency.

Experts also say that fake or counterfeit money increases prices (inflation) due to more money getting circulated in the economy – an unauthorised artificial increase in the money supply; leads to decrease in the acceptability of paper money and cause losses to the business community.

Although this form of financial crime is still very low in Rwanda, Rwanda National Police (RNP) and other law enforcement agencies maintains their standards to fight the few cases and for those involved to face justice. Many have indeed been arrested.

On Wednesday, April 26, one Innocent Simbiga, 68, was arrested in Gasetsa Village, Kazizi Cell, Nyamugari Sector in Kirehe District with counterfeit banknotes.

Simbiga was reported by the would-be victim at a local bar where he was trying to pay for drinks he had taken.

He claimed that he got the fake bills from another person, whom he did not disclose. In most cases, there is a chain in the circulation of these counterfeit bills.

They use many tricks to circulate or sell these fake notes. The most common practice is that they tend to buy cheaper goods with these counterfeits so as to get the balance of genuine money.

In most cases, victims or would-be victims are owners of small businesses such as shops commonly known boutiques, mobile money agents, bars in remote areas, among others. Some taxi-moto operators have also fallen victims.

There have also been attempts for these criminals to also dupe some financial institutions.

A case in point, Rwanda National Police (RNP), last month, also arrested a man in Muhanga District with counterfeit cash amounting to US$2, 000, as he attempted to deposit it in the bank.

Without technology, fake bills sometimes can be hard to spot with an untrained eye or if one is not vigilant enough.

It is, therefore, imperative to be vigilant in your business or when making any financial transactions. If you suspect someone to be making or circulating fake banknotes, always call the Police on toll-free line 112 or any other RNP known communication channels.

Community policing is one of the greatest tools through which RNP has been able to fight and prevent crimes, including currency counterfeit, where the public take ownership against such high impact crimes by reporting those involved.

Financial experts argue that overcoming counterfeit money in any given economy goes beyond only acquiring technology that examines money, but also building strong ties between law enforcers and the business community and the public in order to collectively fight against the challenge.

Article 269 of law No 68/2018 determining offenses and penalties in general, states that any person, who fraudulently counterfeits, falsifies or alters coins or bank notes which are legal tender in Rwanda or abroad, notes issued by the Treasury with its stamp or brand, either banknotes or alike that have legal tender in Rwanda or abroad, or one who introduces or issues in Rwanda such effects or notes with knowledge that they are forged or falsified, commits an offence.

Upon conviction, he/she is liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than five years and not more than seven years.