KIGALI - Rwanda National Police (RNP) yesterday arrested 15 people suspected to have been involved in illegal money trading, commonly known as Banque Lambert.
Fourteen men and one woman were arrested in different parts of the city after police coordinated with the Central Bank following a tip off by the victims.
In an interview with The New Times, yesterday Police Spokesperson Supt. Eric Kayiranga said that the arrests are part of the campaign to end the illegal activity in which people have lost money and property to loan sharks.
“It is a campaign that is ongoing. Illegal money trading is prohibited by law No.07/2008. They will be charged with trading money illegally and confiscating people’s properties and goods,” Kayiranga said.
Kayiranga said that the arrested people did not have operating licences hence contravening article 119 of the law which states that only recognised and licensed financial institutions and banks will be allowed to conduct any money transactions or money related businesses.
He called upon the public to expose those involved in the illegal practice, insisting that police and Central Bank are determined to crackdown on these individuals.
“They should know that there is a law that punishes this act.
The reason why police is emphasising the fight against this act is because it has been a source of conflict and sometimes even death,” Kayiranga said.
“The practice itself affects the monetary policy of the country. They charge high interest rates which exceed those set by the Central Bank and at the end of the day rip-off their victims of their hard-earned money.”
He said the suspects whose names were not disclosed to the media will be prosecuted after thorough investigations and charges are preferred against them.
In December last year, Central Bank Governor Francois Kanimba issued a stern warning to those involved in the act but said that the national bank would only licence those who meet the requirements.
Fourteen suspects involved in the scheme had been arrested in a major sweep across the City centre.
Kanimba said that the scheme can only operate under a regulated environment.
“Since the Central Bank regulates the industry, we cannot sit back as these people operate illegally and cause losses to the public,” Kanimba told The New Times then.
“If they claim they are facilitating business operators, then they should submit their applications to the Bank.”
“We can sit and discuss terms under which they can operate instead of operating illegally,” he said.
According to the Governor, loan sharks offer soft conditions to loan seekers as compared to regular banks, making more people run to them for credit.
He said that some people within commercial banks could be behind the illegal act.