The goods, including banned skin bleaching cosmetics, had been sneaked into Rwanda from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), according to Superintendent of Police (SP) Bonaventure Twizere Karekezi, the Police spokesperson for the Western region.
The successful operations were conducted on Monday and Tuesday.
Those arrested include one Asia Uwamahoro, 35, who was intercepted on Tuesday, July 19, in Rurembo Village, Byahi Cell of Gisenyi Sector with assorted skin bleaching cosmetics, used shoes and clothes, tobacco and an illicit gin called simba waragi, all worth over Frw8.6 million.
"Uwamahoro had hired other people to smuggle the goods into Rwanda from DRC, but her employees dropped them and run away after they saw the Police," said SP Karekezi said.
The seized outlawed skin whitening oils and creams, include Cocopulp, Carolight and Elegance. They are among the 1,342 listed cream and oil brands with hydroquinone and mercury, which are prohibited in Rwanda.
Another suspect identified as Marie Aimée Mukamazimpaka, 28, was arrested, Monday, July 18, in Isangano Village, Rukoko Cell also in Gisenyi Sector with smuggled electric cables, used clothes and shoes, and non-biodegradable polythene polythene bags, all worth over Rwf550,000.
SP Karekezi added that the two suspected smugglers and dealers in illegal goods were reported by residents.
Article 199 of the East African Community Management Act, which is also used in Rwanda, specifies a penalty of US$5000 to a driver found driving a vehicle with smuggled goods while the vehicle and the goods are auctioned.
Article 87 of law on tax procedures, provides that a person who, while intending tax evasion, commits one of the following acts: use of forged documents in his or her accounts; counterfeit and use of documents or materials of the tax administration used for taxation; hiding taxable goods or assets related to business; making a declaration indicating that the taxpayer has not made sales; changing the trade name by a person prosecuted in relation to tax; fraudulent registration of trade under the name of another person; hiding accounting documents from the tax administration or damaging them; use of forged accounting records; commits an offence of tax evasion.
Upon conviction, he or she is liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than two (2) years and not more than five (5) years.
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 Rwf3 million and not more than Rwf5 million or one of these penalties.