Burindwi was caught red-handed with 1,673 pieces of assorted skin whitening products worth of Rwf3 million.
The whitening lotions including Beauty, Caro light, Coco Pulp, Epiderme crème, White Max, Diana, Diprosal, Dermasol, and Bio plus were found in his shop located in Bukinanyana village, Butare cell, Ngoma Sector.
The suspect admitted that he was buying the outlawed harmful lotions from dealers in Muhanga District. He further explained that the dealers in Muhanga traffic them into Rwanda from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) mainly heading to City of Kigali.
The Southern region Police spokesperson, Superintendent of Police (SP) Theobald Kanamugire said that the suspect was arrested as a result of strong partnership between the Police and the general public through information sharing.
“RPU received information from a resident that Burindwi was selling in his shop ‘Chez Gikongoro’ assorted types of skin bleaching lotions.
An operation was conducted at the same shop and Burindwi was found with 1,673 pieces of outlawed cosmetics," SP Kanamugire said.
He reminded the public that skin whitening creams and oils were banned in Rwanda due to their adverse health effects to users.
The Southern region spokesperson warned anyone selling the banned oils and creams that RNP has strengthened operations against smugglers and those selling them in shops.
The suspect was handed over to RIB at Huye Police station for further legal process as the search for suppliers is still underway.
The outlawed creams and oil brands contain chemicals such as mercury and hydroquinone, which can cause liver damage, reduce resistance to bacterial and fungal infections, and increase anxiety, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Medics suggest that the two toxic chemicals; hydroquinone and mercury react with ultraviolet rays and lead to more pigmentation and premature aging.
The more these products are used the less melanin the body produces, and this leads to an increased risk for skin cancer.
Article 266 of the law determining offenses and penalties in general, states that any person, who produces, sells, or prescribes harmful products; cosmetics or body hygiene substance or 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 Rwf5 million or one of these penalties.