Police in Gicumbi District are holding a man who allegedly attempted to bribe officers after being caught red-handed trying to bring 237 bundles of khat into the country.
According to the police, the suspect was first stopped at Gatuna border after authorities suspected him of carrying the illegal substance.
“He instinctively fled leaving behind his vehicle, from which the drugs were recovered,” Chief Inspector of Police Hamdun Twizeyimana, the Police spokesperson for the Northern Region, said.
“The suspect later came back and tried to bribe a Revenue Protection Unit officer with Rwf200,000 in order to lure him into releasing his impounded vehicle, that’s when he was arrested,” he added.
Khat is a drug composed of the leaves of a wild plant called catha edulis; it contains two mild stimulants–cathinone and cathine.
The drug is associated with various medical complications, including dental disease, mouth cancers, heart problems, liver disease, sleep problems and reduced appetite.
In 1980, the World Health Organisation classified khat as a drug of abuse that can produce psychological dependence.
“In Rwanda, khat is a narcotic drug that is listed among the psychotropic substances and banned under the ministerial order nº20/35 of 09/6/2015 determining unauthorised drinks and other controlled substances classified as narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and precursors,” CIP Twizeyimana said.
He added that the suspect has since been handed over to Rwanda Investigation Bureau.
Article 594 of the penal code states that any person who unlawfully makes, transforms, imports, or sells narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances shall be liable to a term of up to five years and a fine of up to Rwf5 million.
However, under the same article, if the act is committed internationally or across the border, the penalties shall be doubled.