The suspect identified as Theophile Iyakaremye is currently detained at Remera Police station and was taken into custody on Wednesday following information provided by one of the would-be victims.
It is said that the suspect would linger around the Motor-vehicle Inspection Centre (MIC) in Remera targeting those whose automobiles failed the test, introduce himself to them as a Police officer and ask for money in order to help them get mechanical certificate even without fixing the identified mechanical fault.
Iyakaremye, who spoke to the media this Friday, admitted to the crime. He said that he had already given the same unlawful service to five people in the past one month, paying him between Rwf15, 000 and Rwf30, 000 for the service.
“Last Friday I helped one driver acquire a mechanical certificate after, together with other mechanics, found a way to cheat the MIC system on vehicle emission, which he had been told to fix. He was supposed to pay me Rwf30, 000, but said that he would pay me at once after I help him get an inspection certificate for all his other vehicles,” Iyakaremye narrated.
“On Monday he came back with another vehicle which failed the mechanical test due to faults in brakes… he wanted me to help him again but I demanded to be paid for the previous service (Rwf30, 000), but I was arrested on Wednesday at about 2 pm at a kiosk in Kimironko where I was trying to withdraw the money he had sent me,” he added.
Rwanda National Police (RNP) spokesperson, Commissioner of Police (CP) John Bosco Kabera commended the role of the public in reporting such fraudsters.
“MIC services have been eased. The services can be accessed 48 hours after booking, down from three days previously, inspection lanes were increased to five and we have a mobile lane that serves vehicle owners in other provinces on a rotational basis; working hours were increased up to midnight and the center is open even on public holidays,” CP Kabera said, urging vehicle owners to utilize the eased services instead of taking “short and criminal channels.”
“MIC services are meant to prevent accidents that may be caused by mechanical faults, and taking such shortcuts means putting lives of people either in that vehicle or using the same road at risk, which is unacceptable,” CP Kabera said.
He disclosed that Motor-vehicle inspection centers are being constructed in Huye, Musanze and Rwamagana districts to extend services closer to the people and further ease access to vehicle inspection services.
The penal code in its article 279, states 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 or publicly wears a costume, a uniform, badge or an emblem with an intention to mislead the public, commits an offence.”
Upon conviction, the offender 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.