Rusizi: Two trailers impounded for smuggling goods

On 30 April 2021 at 07:09

Two trailers have been impounded in Rusizi District after they were found transporting smuggled clothes and outlawed skin bleaching products.

The seized smuggled goods include seven bales of second-hand clothes commonly known as Caguwa, 20 garments of a traditional fabrics called Kitenge and over 1700 pieces of assorted banned skin whitening lotions.

Three people including two drivers of the trailers and the owner of some of the smuggled goods, were also taken into custody.

The separate successful operations were conducted on Wednesday and Thursday, by the Revenue Protection Unit (RPU), a Rwanda National Police (RNP) unit attached to Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) to fight smuggling and fraud.

The foreign registered trailers were en-route to City of Kigali, Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Bonaventure Twizere Karekezi, the Police spokesperson for the Western region, said.

He said Police had information that transit vehicles are being used by smugglers to sneak goods into Rwanda, which prompted the operation.

"RPU first stopped a Congolese registered truck on April 28, at Kamembe border point but the driver identified as Raphael Mushonga declined to stop.

"A road block was mounted in Ntendezi where the truck was intercepted, searched and 968 pieces of assorted outlawed skin bleaching lotions recovered under the car seats. The driver was also arrested and the vehicle impounded," CIP Karekezi said.

Another Kigali-bound Tanzanian registered vehicle driven by one Abdallah Kaberwa, was intercepted at about 6am on Thursday in Karambo Village, Kacyangugu Cell in Kamembe Sector with seven bales of second hand clothes, 20 pieces of Kitenge and 723 pieces of skin whitening lotions.

Kaberwa disclosed that he was hired by one Emmanuel Mbabajende, also arrested, to transport the clothes and banned lotions to Ruyenzi trading centre in Runda Sector, Kamonyi District.

Kaberwa was to be paid Rwf150, 000 upon delivering the goods.

CIP Karekezi warned that RNP has strengthened operations against smugglers.

He added that four transit vehicles have been impounded since February for transporting smuggled goods.

Article 266 of the law relating to offences and penalties in general, states that "any person, who produces, sells or prescribes the following prohibited substances: a drug; harmful products; cosmetics or body hygiene substances or any other products derived from plants; commits an offence.

Upon conviction, he or 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 Frw5 million or only one of these penalties.

Under the East African Community Management Act, which is also applicable in Rwanda, the vehicle and seized smuggled goods under article 199, are auctioned while the driver is fined US$5000.