Valens Niyonzima, 41, was arrested in Kamuhoza Cell, Kimisagara Sector in Nyarugenge District. He was showed to the media on Wednesday, July 14, at Kigali Metropolitan Police in Remera, Gasabo district.
The arrest of Niyonzima followed reports of several mobile money fraud victims.
While speaking to journalists, Niyonzima disclosed that the racket started four years ago with seven members.
"We were seven when we started towards the end of 2017, although five of the members decided to abandon this scheme, which was mainly targeting mobile money subscribers. I remained with Emmanuel Tuyisenga (still at large)," said Niyonzima.
Sometimes masquerading as employees of MTN, he said, they would call or send messages to people that they have won a lottery.
"In order to collect the lottery, say of Rwf75, 000, the targeted individual would be told to follow our instructions and in the process they would instead transfer their money to our mobile accounts," he explained.
At a certain point, he added, the lottery trick was unearthed as many people came to know that it was being used to fleece them.
"We changed from the the MTN money rewards, now we started guising as employees of RURA calling people to warn them that their Sim-Cards were about to be disconnected. We would also ask them to follow our instructions in order to update their Sim-Cards and in the process they would transfer money from their mobile accounts to our accounts."
By the time of his arrest, Niyonzima and his group had defrauded about 150 people of over Rwf2.5 million, including Rwf898,000, which they fleeced from one person.
RNP spokesperson, Commissioner of Police (CP) John Bosco Kabera said the suspect was arrested following information provided by the public.
"Police has been trailing people behind mobile money fraud and who were masquerading as employees of utility institutions. That is how Niyonzima, one of the ringleaders, was located and arrested with the help of members of the public," CP Kabera said.
He appealed the public to always be vigilant and to protect their banking credentials.
"People should not deceive you that you have won a jackpot for the competition that you did not register to be part of. Even if they tell you that they are employees of a certain entity, take an extra-mile to verify before you do anything and report to the Police or other concerned institutions immediately," the spokesperson said.
Article 281 of law determining offences and penalties in general states that any person, who claims to be attached to a legally regulated profession, a certificate, an official diploma or any other entitlements granted by a competent authority to a person meeting requirements set by a competent authority, commits an offence.
Upon conviction, he/she is liable to an imprisonment for a term of not less than one (1) month and less than six (6) months and a fine of not less than Frw500,000 and not more than Frw1 million.
In article 279, of the same law states that any person who without tittle usurps public, civil or military functions or poses the acts of one these functions or falsely attributes to himself/herself the quality of a public official commits an offence.
Upon conviction, the offender faces between two and three years in prison, and a fine of not more than Rwf300,000 but not more than Rwf500, 000.
In article 174, any person who by deception, obtains another person’s property, whole or part of his/her finance by use of false names or qualifications or who offers positive promises or who threatens of future misfortunes, commits an offence.
Upon conviction, the offender is liable to imprisonment of not less than two years and not more than three years and a fine of between Rwf million and Rwf5 million.