Jean Pierre Rukundo, 32, was arrested on Wednesday, May 31, in Tabagwe Sector, Gitengure Cell in Nyagasigati Village after some of the victims reported his alleged criminal acts to the Police.
Superintendent of Police (SP) Hamdun Twizeyimana, the Police spokesperson for the Eastern region said that at the time of Rukundo’s arrested, he had allegedly defrauded three people of combined Rwf206,000.
"Rukundo, who was telling residents that he is a Police officer from the anti-drugs unit, was targeting those whose relatives were arrested over drugs promising them that he can secure their release without charges, if they paid a specific amount of money," SP Twizeyimana explained.
On Monday, May 30, he added, Rukundo approached a woman called Gaudence Niyinkunda, made her believe that he is a Police officer and in a right position to release her husband detained at Tabagwe Police station.
Niyinkunda paid Rukundo Rwf150,000. Her husband was arrested recently for allegedly trafficking and selling kanyanga, a crude illicit gin.
"Last week, Rukundo also allegedly defrauded one Jean Damascene Nsekanabandi of Rwf45000 and Faina Niyonagira of Rwf11, 000. He intimidated and threatened them that he would arrest them on allegation that they were selling psychotropic substances," SP Twizeyimana narrated.
Rukundo, somehow, later got to know that Niyonagira’s husband had been arrested for allegedly selling kanyanga.
"On Tuesday, Rukundo went back to Niyonagira and demanded Rwf200,000 to facilitate the release of her detained husband. Niyonagira this time made him believe that she would bring the money later that day. She instead called the Police and Rukundo was arrested red-handed receiving the money."
Rukundo was handed over to RIB at Nyagatare station for further investigation.
Article 279 of the law determining offences and penalties states that ; any person who, without tittle usurps public, civil or military functions or poses the acts of one of these functions or falsely attributes to himself/herself the quality of a public official or publicly wears a costume, a uniform, badge or an emblem with an intention to mislead the public, commits an offence.
Upon conviction, he/she is liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than two (2) years and not more than three (3) years, with a fine of not less than three hundred thousand Rwandan francs (Rwf 300,000) and not more than five hundred thousand Rwandan francs (Rwf 500,000).
Obtaining property of another person by deception, under article 174 of the same law, is punishable with imprisonment for a term of not less than 2 years and not more than 3 years, and a fine of not less than Rwf3 million and not more than Rwf5 million.
The spokesperson also warned against taking such shortcuts to break the law.
"If your relative or friend is arrested, he or she will only be released through the proper legal channels. Anyone asking you for money to release a suspect, report him or her to the Police because he is either a fraudster or an authority who is misusing the power to break the law," SP Twizeyimana said.