Two members of the ring identified as Marcel Niyonsaba, 40, and Emmanuel Mbarushimana, 41, have been arrested. They were showed to the media on Sunday, July 18, at Kigali metropolitan headquarters in Remera, Gasabo District.
According to the would-be victim, Kimenyi, a resident of Kanombe Sector in Kicukiro District, on July 13, he received a call from unidentified person, who claimed that he knows a piece of land with a house, which was on sale.
“Coincidentally, I was also looking for land, preferably with a simple house, to buy. The caller told me that he would link me with another person identified as Ndori, a resident of Ruhango Cell in Gisozi Sector, Gasabo District, where the said piece of land on sale is.
I later met the said Ndori, who took me to the plot of land and told me that the rightful owner wanted Rwf15 million. Ndori told me that he was just a broker and that the land is registered in the names of Antoine Ngarambe,” Kimenyi narrated.
At this point, Kimenyi had no idea that this was a well laid scheme to defraud him. First, the racket forged to land title of Antoine Ngarambe, who is the rightful owner of the plot. Secondly, they found a way to swap Antoine Ngarambe’s Sim-card and at this point, it is Marcel Niyonzaba, one of the arrested members of the ring, who was masquerading as Antoine Ngarambe.
“Ndori gave me contacts of the alleged owner of the plot—Antoine Ngarambe—we met and settled for Rwf15 million. I was to pay Rwf13 million and pay the remaining Rwf2 million after land mutation. I am the lucky one because the Police got to know of the hatched scam, Marcel Niyonsaba and Emmanuel Mbarushimana were arrested as we were processing the mutation in the notary’s office,” said Kimenyi.
Niyonzaba disclosed that it was Mbarushimana, who helped them swap Antoine Ngarambe’s Sim-card and land title.
“On July 15, I received a phone call from Mbarushimana, who was with a woman only identified as Claudette. They introduced me to the plan about a plot of land they wanted to sell and wanted me to guise as Antoine Ngarambe and for Claudette to pose as my wife. From the onset, I knew this was not their land, but they promised me a big share once we successfully execute the plan. I had the Sim-card in the names of Antoine Ngarambe while Claudette had the forged land title. However, I was arrested on July 16, at Kiyovu, Muhima Sector (Nyarugenge District) where we were processing the land mutation,” Niyonsaba said.
Mbarushimana also admitted to swapping the Sim-card adding that he was to be paid Frw300, 000 for his service after selling the land.
RNP spokesperson, CP John Bosco Kabera said the foiled scan and arrest of some members of the ring followed a tip-off from the public. He went on to urge the public to always be vigilant and exhaust all avenues to prevent falling prey.
“Scammers are there and are always to defraud people taking advantage of their weakness. Imagine people, who hatch a plan to sell land, which does not belong to them, forge the land title, national ID, disconnect and swap a Sim-card of the rightful owner of the plot of land; this is one clear example that such criminal-minded people are there which requires maximum vigilance and double checking before making any transactions,” CP Kabera said.
Article 174 of the law determining offences and penalties in general states that 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, he/she is liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than two (2) years and not more than three (3) years, and a fine of not less than Rwf3 million and not more than Rwf5 million.
Article 177 of the same law states that; any person who sells or pledges as a security an immovable or a movable property knowing that he/she is not the owner, commits an offence.
Upon conviction, he/she is liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than one (1) year and not more than two (2) years and a fine of not less than Rwf500, 000 and not more than Rwf1 million.
In article 276, any person who, in any manner, forges or alters documents by forged signature or fingerprint, falsifying documents or signatures or impersonation, forging agreements, its provisions, obligations, or discharged obligations commits an offence.
Upon conviction, he/she is liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than five (5) years but not more than seven (7) years and a fine of not less than Rwf3 million and not more than Rwf5 million or only one of these penalties.