Crime & Investigation

Rwanda: Police Intercept Smuggled Energy Drink

The energy drink seized by Rwanda police

The Revenue Protection Unit (RPU), cheap a Rwanda National Police unit that supports Rwanda Revenue Authority to fight smuggling and fraud, here has intercepted about 60 boxes of Azam energy drink over tax evasion.

The energy drink seized this past weekend along Rusumo-Kigali highway, had been sneaked into the country through an illegal border in Kirehe District.

At the time, the merchandise was being transported in commuter vehicle, Hiace registration number RAA 115N.

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Meanwhile, the alleged owner of the goods, one Olive Mukabugingo, who was also traveling in the same vehicle at the time, was also taken into custody as investigations continue.

The Revenue Protection Unit was attached to Rwanda Revenue Authority to help the tax body in preventing, detecting and investigating cases related to tax evasion and smuggling.

Supt. James Rutaremara, the District Police Commander (DPC) of Kirehe, said that residents noticed a public transport vehicle loaded with boxes, which prompted them to call police.

“When the vehicle, omnibus licenced to carry only people, reached the roadblock, it was stopped and on checking they found the boxes were loaded by Azam Energy Drink. First, it was a traffic offence to use a vehicle in an unauthorized activity and a crime to evade taxes,” Supt. Rutaremara said.

“We call upon people to maintain this spirit of saying ‘NO’ to anyone breaking the law. It is good that people residing along the border, especially in Kirehe have stood up against illegal cross-border or people who try to use porous borders to traffic or smuggle things into the country,” he added.

Economic experts say that smuggling severely harms the economy of a country in multidimensional ways; it undermines the local industry, brings in fake or substandard products, discourages legal imports and reduces the volume of revenues collected from duties and levies by the state.

The RPU recovered over Rwf4 billion between 2007 and 2013, that otherwise would have been lost through varied fraudulent businesses. Between May and August this year alone, RPU managed to recover about Rwf266 million taxes that otherwise would have been evaded.


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