Police seize over 300 stolen mobile phones, seven arrested

On 15 February 2024 at 07:00

Rwanda National Police (RNP) has seized assorted stolen electronics, including 308 mobile phones, and arrested seven people in operations conducted in the central business district, Nyarugenge.

Those arrested in operations conducted on Tuesday, February 13, include dealers, who buy stolen electronics, and technicians, who sometimes modify serial numbers.

They were all handed over to RIB for further investigations.

During the operations, Police also recovered from the suspects 28 tablets, four laptops and a desktop.

One of the arrested phone technicians was found in possession of 110 smartphones, ACP Boniface Rutikanga, the RNP spokesperson, said.

"Those arrested are mainly buyers and dealers of stolen electronics. They are suspected of working with thieves to steal electronics especially mobile phones, computers and television sets.

These are ongoing operations to break chains, especially those who buy and sell stolen electronics because they are fuelling theft," ACP Rutikanga said.

Regulations governing trade of used electronics

In July 2022, the government published regulations governing trade of used electrical and electronic equipment, including licensing. The regulated electronics telephones, electric cables, computers, television sets, music instruments (guitar, piano, keyboard, sound speakers), cameras as well as TV and satellite receivers.

Others include CD and MP3 players, radios, scanners, video mixing and cutting devices, decoders, air conditioners, washing machines, cooking stove, and amplifier.

Under the regulations, for one to trade in used electrical and electronic equipment, you apply for a license issued by Rwanda Inspectorate, Competition and Consumer Protection Authority (RICA), which is valid for two years, renewal.

Business operators are required to ensure that used electrical and electronic equipment they intend to buy meets the safety requirements of the standards IEC 60950-1; record description of the equipment bought and sold.

The records kept for at least two years, should indicate the category, brand and model name, model number, serial number, information relating to International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) and International Mobile Equipment Identity Software Version (IMEI-SV) per slot where applicable; any other distinguished marks or features, where applicable and equipment status description.

Before buying second-hand electronics, the business operator must first verify that the seller is the rightful owner of the equipment and record detailed particulars.