Police identified the suspects as Valerie Niyomwizerwa, 32, Clemance Izabayo, 32, Pascasia Musabyeyezu and Florence Irakiza.
Police spokesperson for the Western region, Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Emmanuel Kayigi said that the suspects were arrested red-handed exchanging money at ‘Petite Barrière’ border post with the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“They were found with varying amounts of money in different currencies, including Rwanda and Congolese francs, and US dollars,” he explained.
Economists say unlawful financial businesses distort the forex market, trigger dollarization of the economy, fuel inflation and reduce the competitiveness of local products on the international market.
“This was a regular police operation to crackdown on illegal money exchange especially at the border with DRC, based on credible information on specific people involved and their bases,” the spokesperson said.
Police has warned against illegal currency trade and urged those seeking forex exchange services to go to registered money traders.
According to central bank regulations, no individual or company is allowed to trade-in currencies without a license.
Article 223 of the penal code also specifies that “any person who, by any means, illegally sells or exchanges, national or foreign currency, commits an offense.”
The article further adds: “Upon conviction, he or she is liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than six months and not more than two years or a fine of not less than Rwf200, 000 and not more than Rwf3 million or only one of these penalties.”