According to Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Emmanuel Kayigi, the Police spokesperson for Western region a vehicle Toyota corolla, RAC148P heading to Nyamasheke from Rusizi was intercepted and to be carrying the contraband. The interception took place at a check-point that was mounted in Ntendezi Cell, Ruharambuga Sector.
CIP Kayigi said that the driver of the vehicle identified as Benjamin Rwarahoze, who was also the owner of those illegal goods was arrested following a tip-off from local residents.
“Residents of Kagano Sector, where the suspect has a shop, shared information of his wrongdoings, which is selling both skin bleaching cosmetics and polythene bags, items that are banned in the country. Reacting on the information, we arrested Rwarahoze in possession of those goods,” CIP Kayigi explained.
He added: “Rwarahoze used tactics of concealment; he transported legal goods mixed with illegal ones.”
CIP Kayigi emphasized that fighting against selling and use of plastic bags is a national policy that Rwanda National Police (RNP) implements jointly with other responsible institutions like Rwanda Environmental Management Authority (REMA) with support of the public, who are the source of information on traffickers.
He also noted that all lotions, oils, and soaps with hydroquinone are banned in Rwanda after being scientifically proven to cause skin irritation and skin cancer, among other diseases.
“Rwanda National Police (RNP), Ministry of Health as the lead agency, Rwanda Food and Drug Authority, Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) and Rwanda Standards Board (RSB), launched the joint operation against skin bleaching creams, oils, and soaps, last year. We continue doing such operations to make sure all those involved in the said illegal businesses stop,” said CIP Kayigi.
The skin bleaching products are labeled illegal under the ministerial order determining the list of cosmetics whose use is prohibited in Rwanda; the law on organization, functioning, and competence of the Council of Pharmacists; law governing narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances, and precursors in Rwanda; and the law relating to the regulation and inspection of food and pharmaceutical products.
Also, article seven of the law relating to the prohibition of manufacturing, importation, use, and sale of polythene bags in Rwanda, states that industries which manufacture polythene bags, commercial companies or any person found in possession of prohibited polythene bags without authorization in their stores, manufacturing or using them, shall be punished by an imprisonment of six to twelve months and a fine of Rwf100, 000 to Rwf500, 000 or one of the two penalties.