Vehicle intercepted trafficking narcotic drugs, skin bleaching products

On 12 July 2021 at 05:49

Rwanda National Police (RNP), on Saturday, July 10, impounded a vehicle trafficking 60kgs and 50 pellets of cannabis, 652 pieces of skin bleaching lotions as well as other assorted goods, which were sneaked into Rwanda from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The driver identified as Innocent Mutabazi, 43, was also arrested when the Revenue Protection Unit (RPU) and Traffic and Road Safety department intercepted the vehicle in Uwimana Village, Giheke Cell, Giheke Sector.

According to Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Bonaventure Twizere Karekezi, the Police spokesperson for the Western region, Mutabazi was reported by residents.

"RPU received information about Mutabazi, who works for Merez Petroleum company, had transported gas cylinders from Kigali to Merez station in Gihundwe sector, Rusizi District.

However, on his way back to Kigali, he loaded the illegal products including narcotic drugs and skin bleaching products, and other smuggled goods such as powdered milk, in Giheke sector and covered them with gas cylinders," CIP Karekezi said.

He added: "Police responded to a tip-off, mounted a check point in Uwimana village, Giheke cell where Mutabazi was arrested red-handed with 60kgs of cannabis, skin bleaching lotions and other goods."

Following his arrest, Mutabazi disclosed that he was hired by dealers operating in Nyabugogo to pick the illicit goods at a specific point in Giheke, on his way back.

He identified one of the dealers that hired him only as Claude and that he was to be paid Frw200, 000 upon delivering the goods.

CIP Karekezi warned drivers against aiding drug dealers and smugglers.

He commended residents, who shared information leading to the arrest of the suspect and urged them for continued timely reporting of criminals.

What the law says

Cannabis is classified among the very severe narcotic drugs in Rwanda.

Article 263 of law No 68/2018 of 30/08/2018 determining offenses and penalties in general states that any person, who unlawfully produces, transforms, transports, stores, gives to another or who sells narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, commits an offence.

Upon conviction for "very severe narcotics," the offender faces between 20 years and life imprisonment, and a fine of up to Rwf30 million.

Article 266 of the same law, 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 article 199 of the East African Community Management Act, which is also applicable in Rwanda, seized smuggled goods and an automobile used in smuggling are auctioned, and the driver is fined of US$5000.

Tax fraud

A taxpayer, who commits fraud, is subject to an administrative fine of one hundred percent (100%) of the evaded tax.