Rusizi: Police warns against smuggling

On 19 March 2021 at 07:22

Communities residing on borderlines in Rusizi District have been urged to report all acts of fraud inlcuding smuggling to fight tax evasion as well as substandard and illicit products that could find their way on the Rwandan market.

The call follows separate Rwanda National Police (RNP) operations in the district in which scores of smugglers and smuggled goods have been seized.

In the latest operation conducted on Tuesday, March 16, the RNP Revenue Protection Unit (RPU) seized 80kgs of second-hand clothes commonly known as caguwa and 240 pieces of Movit Jerry, from smugglers.

They were intercepted in Gahinga Cell, Mururu Sector following information provided by local residents.

According to Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Bonaventure Twizere Karekezi, the Police spokesperson for the Western region, residents reported a group of smugglers, who use Rusizi river as transit route from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

"In this particular operation, we had received prior information from residents that smugglers would be crossing the border from DRC with assorted goods through Rusizi river. We also knew that smugglers first hide in a bamboo forest after crossing into Rwanda before continuing to the first destination in Rwanda," CIP Karekezi said.

However, on spotting movements, the smugglers abandoned the goods and escaped back towards the same direction.

CIP Karekezi added that a number of smugglers have been arrested trying to use this route from DRC and through Buremera Village, Gahinga cell in Mururu sector.

He recommended local residents, who continue to fight such fraud.

"We appreciate locals, who share information with security organs on all forms of cross-border criminality including smuggling and drug trafficking. This is why many people involved in these criminal businesses are identified and arrested" CIP Karekezi said.

The East African Community Management Act, which is applicable in Rwanda, in its article 199, states that a driver of the vehicle intercepted with smuggled goods, will be slapped with a fine of US$5000 while the vehicle and the goods are auctioned.

Tax fraud

A taxpayer, who commits fraud, is subject to an administrative fine of one hundred percent (100%) of the evaded tax. With exception to that penalty, the Tax Administration refers the case to the Prosecution service if the taxpayer voluntarily evaded such tax. In case of conviction, the taxpayer can be imprisoned for a period between six months and two years.