The Fuso vehicle, registration number RAD 296U, was intercepted in Mpara Village, Cyome Cell, Gatumba Sector on Sunday, August 14.
Two people on board ; the driver, Emmanuel Mpagaritswenimana, 26, and one Cleophas Ndutiye, 40, the alleged rightful owner of the minerals, have been arrested in connection with smuggling and illegal mineral trade.
Lithium metal is mainly used to make rechargeable batteries for mobile phones, laptops, digital cameras and electric vehicles.
Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Mucyo Rukundo, the Western Region Political and Education Officer (RPCEO), said that Police mounted a checkpoint in Mpara following information that illegal mineral dealers had loaded tonnes of minerals in a vehicle, which they would smuggle to Kigali.
"The Fuso vehicle was stopped at a checkpoint in Mpara where Ndutiye and his driver Mpagaritswenimana, were arrested with 6.6 tonnes of lithium. The vehicle and minerals were impounded to Gatumba Police station where the two suspects were also handed over to RIB for further investigations," CIP Rukundo said.
He warned against such unlawful acts and thanked the public for working with the Police against illegal mining and related trade.
Article 54 of law N° 58/2018 of 13/08/2018 on mining and quarry operations provides that any person who undertakes mineral or quarry exploration, exploitation, processing or trading without a licence, commits an offence.
Upon conviction, he or she is liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than two months and not more than six months and a fine of not less than Rwf1 million and not more than Rwf5 million or only one of these penalties.
The court also orders confiscation of any seized minerals or quarry in storage, trading or processing without a licence.
In article 199 of the East African Community Management Act, which is also applicable in Rwanda, smuggled goods and vehicle used, are auctioned.
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