According to Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Bonaventure Twizere Karekezi, the Police spokesperson of the Western region, Samuel Susuruka was at the time trying to buy a bulb of Rwf500 when the shop attendant noticed that a note of Rwf 2, 000 the former paid was counterfeit.
Susuruka had travelled from Kigali to visit friends in Rubona village of Kibirizi cell, Rubengera sector in Karongi District.
"At about 6:30pm on Saturday, he went to buy a bulb at the nearby shop but the shop attendant, who was previously defrauded with fake money, realized that the note given to him was forged.
With the help of people, who were around, they apprehended Susuruka only to realize that all the money he had amounting to Rwf40, 000 in the denominations of Frw2000, was counterfeit. They handed him over to Rubengera Police station with the exhibits," CIP Karekezi said.
He commended the high level of vigilance by the public and the would-be victims, in particular, as well as information sharing on counterfeiters and distributors of fake monies.
"Over the past one month alone, Rwanda National Police has arrested seven people in different districts of the Western region. All of them were identified and reported by the would-be victims, which should send a strong message that people are now aware and wide awake against such economic crimes, which affect their small businesses," CIP Karekezi said.
Last week, Police in Rutsiro arrested two men after they were found in possession of counterfeit money amounting to Rwf42,000. The fake notes were in the denominations of Rwf1,000 and Rwf2,000. At the time of their arrest, they had allegedly spent about Rwf238,000, all fake.
One Djabil Munguyiko, 23, suspected to be the mastermind of one of the rackets, was also arrested on October 3, in Rubavu District with fake bills amounting to over Rwf13.6 million. The counterfeit bills were in US dollars (136 bills in the denominations of $100) and Rwandan francs (114 bills in the denominations of Rwf5,000).
Munguyiko was also found with ten bundles of papers cut in the shape and size of the Rwf5,000 bill and two devices he was using to print the fake bills.
Each bundle contained 100 pieces of paper.
In late September, three people were also arrested in Rubavu District with counterfeit dollar bills amounting to $4,800.
"Some of these suspects are connected to those arrested previously and serving their sentences. In some cases, the fake notes recovered from different suspects have the same serial number, indicating some connection both in printing and distribution. Nonetheless, arrests have increased because of the big role the public play against these criminal acts," CIP Karekezi said.
Article 296 in the law determining offences and penalties in general, says “any person who, fraudulently counterfeits, falsifies or alters coins or bank notes which are legal tender in Rwanda or abroad, notes issued by the Treasury with its stamp or brand, either banknotes or alike that have legal tender in Rwanda or abroad, or one who introduces or issues in Rwanda such effects or notes with knowledge that they are forged or falsified, commits an offence.
Upon conviction, he/she is liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than five (5) years and not more than seven (7) years.”