Illegal illicit brew plant discovered in Gasabo

On 8 December 2023 at 06:51

Officials from Rwanda National Police (RNP), Rwanda Food and Drug Authority (RFDA) and local leaders have dismantled an illegal plant in Ndera Sector, Gasabo District, which was producing illicit brew.

During the joint operation conducted recently, officials seized from the plant, about 23,400 litres of illicit brew called Gikundiro.

The seized psychotropic substances were disposed of at Nduba landfill in Gasabo District.

While speaking to the media on Wednesday, December 6, the RNP spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Boniface Rutikanga, said that the owner of the plant, who is still in hiding, was operating without a license.

"Residents were concerned about the plant, which they suspected that it was operating illegally and producing harmful drinks, prompting them to call the police and local leaders," ACP Rutikanga said.

The proprietor of the illegal distillery, he added, is still on the run.

He warned against such criminal acts, which pose danger to the healthy of consumers.

Dr. Eric Nyirimigabo, Head of Food and Drugs Inspection and Safety Monitoring department at Rwanda FDA, said that no distillery is allowed to operate without a license.

"Before a soft or alcoholic beverage plant starts to operate, we first inspect the facility to ensure that it fulfils all the safety and hygiene requirements; that is the first license," Nyirimigabo said.

He added: "The owner is then required to produce samples for laboratory tests, which informs whether or not the proprietor should be given the second license to operate. You also have to register your products first and acquire a standards mark. In this case, the owner of the distillery in Ndera did not have any of these."

All alcoholic drinks produced without complying with standards and other laws in Rwanda are classified as ’simple narcotic drugs’ under article 5 of the Ministerial Order No.001/MoH/2019 of 04/03/2019 establishing the list of narcotic drugs and their categorization.

Under article 263 of the law determining offences and penalties in general in Rwanda, anyone convicted for dealing in "simple narcotic drugs" faces between seven and ten years in prison and a fine of between Rwf5 million and Rwf10 million.