The bales of second-hand clothes were seized from two smugglers, who were also arrested.
They are Elie Bategejo, 34, who was arrested in Rubavu District on Tuesday, August, 31, at about 5am, with five bales.
According to Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Bonaventure Twizere Karekezi, the Police spokesperson for the Western region, the five bales were recovered from Bategejo’s house located in Rambo Village, Kiraga Cell in Nyamyumba Sector.
Another suspected smuggler; Andre Ngerageza, 49, was arrested with seven bales in Gabiro Village, Kagarama Cell, Mahembe Sector in Nyamasheke District.
While explaining circumstances under which Bategejo was arrested, CIP Karekezi said: "Police got information from a resident, at about 4am, that a commercial motorcyclist was transporting clothes from the shore of Lake Kivu to the home of Bategejo in Rambo Village, Kiraga Cell about 50 metres from Lake Kivu.
An operation was swiftly conducted and during the search, Police officers recovered 5 bales in the same house, and Bategejo was taken into custody," CIP Karekezi said.
The bales had been smuggled into Rwanda from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) through Lake Kivu.
Bategejo claimed that he was called by a woman residing in Rubavu town, whom he only identified as Vestine and requested him to keep the bales for her
He further said that he was to be paid Rwf10, 000 for hiding the bales.
“Ngerageze was also reported by residents in Mahembe sector at about 7am, after they saw a commercial motorcyclists delivering seven bales to his store in Gabiro village. Revenue Protection Unit (RPU) officers were deployed, searched and recovered the bales in the said house before taking him into custody,” said CIP Karekezi.
CIP Karekezi commended residents, who shared information leading to the arrest of the suspects.
The suspects were taken to RIB for further investigation while the search of anyone connected to smuggled goods is still ongoing.
Under article 199 of the East African Community Management Act, which is also applicable in Rwanda, seized smuggled goods are auctioned.
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, like through the use of false accounts, falsified documents or any other act punishable by law.
In case of conviction, the taxpayer can be imprisoned for a period between six months and two years.