John Hakizimana, 39, was arrested in a Police operation conducted earlier that day when officers recovered assorted outlawed skin whitening creams and oils from his house located in Ingenzi Village, Kivugiza Cell of Nyamirambo Sector, Nyarugenge District.
Police recovered 90 boxes of skin bleaching products from Hakizimana’s house, valued at about Rwf9 million.
The prohibited products were trafficked into Rwanda from DRC, through Rubavu before sneaking them to Kigali.
Hakizimana was arrested alongside one of his clients identified as Faustin Niyonzima, who was also found at the former’s home, where he had gone to buy a new stock.
Hakizimana was a wholesaler in skin whitening products.
While speaking to journalists, Hakizimana admitted that he started trafficking the banned products two months ago.
"I was buying them from other dealers in Rubavu District but I do not know how they were sneaking them into Rwanda from DRC. I was using my vehicle to transport them to Kigali from Rubavu. I would conceal them in other legal goods to prevent being detected. It was easy to beat security because I would make sure that I have all the receipts for the legal goods; at least that’s what I thought that through this trick I was safe," Hakizimana narrated.
To Niyonzima, a street vendor, this was his third time buying similar products from Hakizimana.
Patrick Hagenimana, Ingenzi village chief, said that no one suspected Hakizimana to be engaged in such unlawful business.
RNP spokesperson, Commissioner of Police (CP) John Bosco Kabera said the suspects were arrested as a result of strong partnership between Police and the public through information sharing.
"The public is now aware of which business is allowed and illegal ones. They also know their role in fighting such criminal businesses by reporting those involved, and we commend them for that community policing spirit," CP Kabera said.
Article 266 of the law relating to offences and penalties in general, states that "any person, who produces, sells or prescribes the following prohibited substances: a drug; harmful products; cosmetics or body hygiene substances and any other products derived from plants; commits an offence.
Upon conviction, he/she is liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than one year and not more than two years and a fine of not less than Frw3 million and not more than Frw5 million or only one of these penalties."