Rubavu : Vehicle impounded with over 7,200 pieces of smuggled skin bleaching cosmetics

On 7 juin 2022 at 06:21

The Rwanda National Police (RNP) Anti-Smuggling and Organized Crimes (ASOC) department has intercepted a vehicle in Rubavu District, which was transporting assorted smuggled goods, including over 7,200 pieces of outlawed skin bleaching cosmetics.

Three people, including the alleged rightful owner of the goods identified as Fiacle Rutabana alias Ganza, were arrested when the Congolese registered Fuso was stopped in Gikarani Village, Nengo Cell, Gisenyi Sector, on Monday, June 6.

The driver, Steven Mutabazi, and one Olivier Twizerimana, who was also on board, are two others arrested in the foiled smuggling attempt.

Police also seized nine gas cylinders, movit products and Salsa, cooking flavours from the truck.

The goods 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 seized skin whitening cosmetics include Coco pulp, Paw paw, beauty and epiderm crème, all which are banned in Rwanda," said SP Karekezi.

There are 1,342 listed cream and oil brands with hydroquinone and mercury, which are prohibited in Rwanda.

According to SP Karekezi, the Police was tipped off by a "responsive resident."

“ASOC had prior credible information that assorted goods including outlawed skin bleaching products, had been smuggled into Rwanda through a porous border point.

Information also indicated that Mutabazi (driver) and his turnboy (Twizerimana) had loaded the goods and were transporting them to City of Kigali," SP Karekezi explained.

"Following their arrest, Mutabazi and Twizerimana disclosed that the goods belong to Rutabana, who had hired them to transport them to his store in Kimisagara, Nyarugenge District. Rutabana was later located and arrested in Rubavu," the spokesperson said.

The suspects were handed over to RIB at Gisenyi station for further legal process.

SP Karekezi thanked the resident, who reported the act of smuggling and fraud.

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.

Under the East African Community Management Act, which is also applicable in Rwanda, seized smuggled goods under article 199, are auctioned.

The vehicle used in fraud and smuggling, it is also auctioned and the driver slapped a fine of US$5,000.

A taxpayer, who commits fraud, is also subject to an administrative fine of one hundred percent (100%) of the evaded tax and a likely imprisonment of between six months and two years.

Police also seized nine gas cylinders, movit products and Salsa cooking flavours from the truck.