Police said Hakizimana was impersonating RIB officials and defrauding unsuspecting members of the public.
Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Emmanuel Kayigi, the Police spokesperson for the Western region, said that Hakizimana was arrested during the ongoing joint operation codenamed ‘USALAMA.’
Usalama, meaning safety in Kiswahili, is a regional operation conducted every year simultaneously in 28 Eastern and Southern Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisations (EAPCCO and SARPCCO) member states against high impact crimes including trafficking in human beings, people smuggling, illicit pharmaceuticals, narcotic drugs, and motor vehicle theft.
It also targets environmental crimes (wildlife crimes, illegal logging, and fishing), theft of copper cables and other metals, smuggling of minerals, a proliferation of illicit small arms and light weapons, terrorism and tracking fugitives.
In Rwanda, it is conducted jointly by Rwanda National Police (RNP), RIB, Rwanda Standards Board (RSB), Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) and the Federation of Pharmacies, among others.
“Hakizimana used this opportunity of the USALAMA operation and would go shop-by-shop in Rubavu threatening owners that he was part of the operation from RIB attached to Gisenyi station, and getting money from them so as not to confiscate their goods,” CIP Kayigi.
He added: “At the time of his arrest, he had solicited money from one businessman, and was going to defraud two others. He was also found with a forged RIB identity card indicating that he was RIB personnel working at Gisenyi station.”
CIP Kayigi said that Hakizimana was defrauding people out of threats, but thanked one of the would-be victims, who were bold to call law enforcement organs.
He called for vigilance against such fraudsters. “Asking for a bribe is criminal itself; whoever asks for money in order to give a service, consider that as fraud and be quick to report such person to law enforcement agencies.”
In article 279 of law determining offences and penalties in general, it is stated that any person who, without title, usurps public, civil or military functions or poses the acts of one of these functions or falsely attributes to himself/herself the quality of a public official… with an intention to mislead the public, commits an offence.
Upon conviction, he/she is liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than two years and not more than three years with a fine of not less than Rwf300, 000 and not more than Rwf500, 000.