Over 170kg of illegal wolfram intercepted in Rutsiro

At least 173 kilogrammes of untagged minerals were on Tuesday seized in Rutsiro District as they were being smuggled to Kigali.

Police spokesperson for the Western Province, Theobard Kanamugire, said a Land Cruiser car was intercepted at a checkpoint in Miyira Cell, Manihira Sector, carrying the wolfram minerals.

“Police officers were conducting routine checks at the roadblock in Rufunzo Village where they discovered that the vehicle had minerals, and drivers didn’t have legal documents permitting them to carry the minerals. The car and the minerals were impounded,” Kanmugire said.

The suspect identified as Jean Luc Niyinfasha, is currently detained at Gihango Police Station pending further investigations.

Kanamugire said the minerals were intercepted by Revenue Protection Unit (RPU), a Rwanda National Police arm charged with fighting fraud and smuggling.

Police said besides having no transport papers, the mode of transporting the minerals contravened the guidelines that call for transporting minerals in metallic container.

“Minerals are supposed to be tagged before they are transported by licensed dealers or companies. These are fraudulent dealings which are aimed at tax evasion. Mining is one of the major revenue generators for Rwanda,” he said

Francis Gatare, the chief executive of Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board, said Rwanda’s mineral export revenues last year, compared to 2015, slightly increased to $166 million while wolfram prices also increased at about 40 per cent.

On March 14, Police in Rulindo arrested two men who were illegally transporting 600 kilogrammes of wolfram suspected to have come from Giti Sector of Gicumbi District.