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Rwanda National Police Intercepts 8 Mineral Smugglers

Ntawizera_Leonce_and_Mugwiza_Jean_Baptiste_were_arrested_with_the_smuggled_minerals___Photo_581260923

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According to Police sources, Ntawizera commonly known as Kirisisi was on the run from Rutongo where he had escaped with charges of illegal mineral mining. The pair is now under Police custody in Rulindo.

Another joint force operation held by Rwanda National Police (RNP) and Rwanda Defense Forces (RDF) on Monday, arrested six people for extracting coltan mineral illegally in a prohibited area located in Gisiza cell, Kabacuzi sector, Muhanga District.

The six namely; Nkeramugabo Jean, Habimana Wellars, Karangwa Evariste, Twagirimana Théoneste, Twagirimana Védaste and Dukundumuremyi Lambert are currently held at Kiyumba Police station.

Mining activities must be conducted in accordance with the law protecting the environment in Rwanda.

It is in this regard that Muhanga district officials stopped residents from mining in areas which are not environmental-friendly but some other people defied the regulation and resorted to hold illegal mining during night hours.

After a joint search operation, tools (exhibits) used to extract the mineral including 8 spades, 1 pestle and 1 machete were recovered from the suspects.

Police is warning the public to desist from smuggling minerals or else they will serve punishments as stipulated in the penal code because illegal mining is strictly prohibited.

The suspects if found guilty will be punished in accordance to the penal code in its article 438 which stipulates that “any person who undertakes illegal research or illegally carries out commercial activities in valuable minerals, shall be liable to imprisonment of six (6) months to one (1) year and a fine of three million (3,000,000) to ten million (10,000,000) Rwandan francs or one of these penalties”.

While smugglers apply different tactics to conduct illegal trade into and out of the country, Revenue Protection Unity within Rwanda National Police has equally deployed several strategies to deal with them.

Smuggling affects economic welfare of the country as taxes are lost in the process. Collective efforts especially through information sharing are important in curbing smuggling.

The Government of Rwanda released strict regulations in March last year aimed at fighting smuggling of Minerals.

Article 9 stipulates that the fraudulent (untagged) minerals impounded by the security services or the Rwanda Revenue Authority will be handed to Geology and Mines Department.

In addition, article 6 regarding Minerals’ exportation, says that all minerals to be exported must have the certificate of origin, traceability documents and must be tagged.

Rwanda Revenue Authority legislation on non payment of taxes stipulates that the goods seized have to be sold to pay for taxes.

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