Assorted smuggled goods seized in separate operations
Assorted goods including liquors, soft drinks, clothes and shoes were seized in separate operations conducted by the Revenue Protection Unit (RPU) and District Police Units (DPUs) on Western and Northern highways on Tuesday and Wednesday.
In one case, a vehicle registration number RAA 856A was intercepted at about 1am at a checkpoint in Gisenyi Sector of Rubavu District carrying about 20 bales of smuggled used clothes.
The vehicle and goods were impounded to Gisenyi Police Station, where the suspected smuggler is also detained, according to Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Innocent Gasasira, the Western region Police spokesperson.
By law, a vehicle caught smuggling goods is auctioned and the driver handed a fine of US$5000. Smuggled goods are equally auctioned.
Other intercepted goods include wines and spirits in different brands such as Red Label and London Gin, electric equipment and foodstuff.
“We are seeing increased arrests of suspected smugglers and seizure of smuggled goods; this is largely because of increased ownership by community members residing along porous borders where illegal business dealers pass,” CIP Gasasira said.
According to CIP Alex Rugigana, the Police spokesperson for the Northern region, majority goods are smuggled through porous borders in Cyanika Sector.
“In other cases, smugglers who managed to beat security in the Western region are also intercepted in Musanze and Rulindo districts due to information sharing either between DPUs or with the residents,” CIP Rugigana said.
In December last year, RPU intercepted a vehicle in Bwishyura Sector, Karongi District that was loaded with 109 bales of smuggled clothes. The smuggler had evaded taxes amounting to over Rwf19.5 million.
In the previous month of November, the RNP marine unit in Rutsiro District intercepted 319 bales of used shoes and 50 bales of secondhand clothes that were also being smuggled into the country through Lake Kivu. The merchandise weighing about 10.5 tonnes had evaded about Rwf48.7 million in taxes.