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Two arrested smuggling contraband, plastic bags

Police in Nyagatare District arrested a man and women after they were found smuggling the banned plastic bags and illicit gins into the country.

The suspects identified as Edward Habiyaremye and Chantal Ingabire were arrested in the night of December 17 in Mimuri cell of Mimuri sector.

At the time, they were found in possession of two-and-half cartons of African gin, three cartons of zebra waragi, 14 boxes of non-biodegradable plastic bags and seven cartons of Bond7.

The suspects are currently held at Mimuri police station where the exhibits are also stored as Police proceeds with investigations into the case.

Reacting to the incident, the Eastern Region Police spokesperson, Inspector of Police (IP) Emmanuel Kayigi said that police acted on information provided by residents to carry out a targeted operation that eventually led to the arrest of the duo and seizure of the illegal products.

With regard to the seized polythene bags, the regional spokesperson warned against anyone who smuggle, attempt to sell or circulate non-biodegradable plastic bags.

“We caution anyone who attempt to deal in polythene bags...it is illegal and punishable by law,” he said.

“Use of plastic bags was prohibited in 2008. From then, several mechanisms including legal provisions against use of plastic bags have been adopted. We encourage the public to be alert and report anybody dealing in any materials that degrade the environment.”

IP Kayigi recognized that the public play a key role in the fight against unscrupulous people who smuggle and trade in polythene bags and other items that threaten the environment and people’s lives.

According toarticle 433 of the Penal Code, “any person who sells polythene without authorisation shall be liable to a fine of Rwf10,000 to Rwf300,000.

Using polythene bags also attracts a fine of up to Rwf100,000, but in case the person repeats the offence, the penalty is doubled.

Speaking about smuggling of alcoholic substance banned in Rwanda, IP Kayigi said that the arrested suspects were very much aware that they are committing a crime.

“We have sensitized people against such substances over and over again but a few are still involved in this malpractice. Once again Rwanda National Police reminds anyone who is involved that we will not tire to ensure that such people are arrested to face justice,” he warned.

He appealed to the public to continue the spirit of partnership, which he said has been instrumental in prevention, detection, and fighting crime.

Border districts are major routes for drugs, illicit brew and contrabands smuggled or transiting through the country.

IP Kayigi pointed out that any person found with drugs or any of the mentioned substance is liable to punishment as stated in article 594 of the penal code.

The article reads in part that any person who unlawfully, makes, transforms, imports, or sells narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances within the country, shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of up to five years and a fine of up to Rwf5 million.


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