Police arrest six in operations against illegal mineral trade

On 2 September 2020 at 03:01

Separate Police operations against illegal mining and mineral trade conducted in Rukoma Sector of Kamonyi District on Monday, August 31, led to the arrest of six people.

One of the suspected illegal mineral dealers identified as Jean Damascene Tuyizere was arrested with 280 kilogrammes of Coltan.

According to Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Aloys Bugingo, the District Police Commander (DPC) for Kamonyi, Tuyizere was at the time smuggling the minerals to Kigali in a vehicle RAC 705I, which was also impounded.

Apparently, Tuyizere, an employee of COMIKA mining company operating in Rukoma, used the company’s tags to tag his minerals, which he had acquired through other fraudulent means.

“Tuyizere, who is an employee of COMIKA mining company, was operating other illegal side deals. This time, he had used COMIKA tags in an attempt to beat security and to smuggle the minerals from Kamonyi to Kigali.

When we inquired with COMIKA management, we indeed found out that the minerals were not theirs and that Tuyizere had used their tags to conduct his illegal mineral businesses on the side,” CIP Bugingo said.

Meanwhile, another suspected illegal mineral dealer called Gaspard Njenyeri, 54, was also caught with 2.5kgs of coltan. Four other suspects were at the time found mining in a coltan concession in Rukoma.

“Understanding that there are increased illegal mining and related businesses in Kamonyi, especially in Rukoma, we have increased operations to prevent these unlawful activities and related fraud,” the DPC said.

He warned residents against the unlawful mineral business and called for continued sharing of information on dealers, including groups that engage in mining and those who buy the minerals from them.

Article 54 of the law on mining and quarry operations, states that; “any person, who undertakes mineral or quarry exploration, exploitation, processing or trading without a licence commits an offence.”

Upon conviction, the offender is liable to imprisonment for a term of between two and six months and a fine of not less than Rwf1 million and not more than Rwf5 million or only one of these penalties.

The court also orders confiscation of any seized minerals or quarry in storage, trading or processing without a licence.