Over 100 bales of smuggled clothes seized in Karongi

Security organs, on Friday last week, impounded a vehicle loaded with at least 109 bales of second-hand clothes commonly known as caguwa, which had been smuggled into the country.

The vehicle, registration number RAC 745K, Fuso type, was intercepted in Bwishyura Sector, Kayenzi Cell, at about 9pm, Police said.

Chief Inspector of Police, (CIP) Innocent Gasasira, the Police Spokesperson for the Western region, said that security personnel on patrol to stop the vehicle because it was over speeding. 

“The speed at which the vehicle was moving on arouse suspicion, which prompted the security personnel on patrol to stop it. When they searched it they found it was loaded with used clothes, which totalled to 109 bales,” Gasasira said.

Two people, who were on board were also taken into custody.

According to the Revenue Protection Unit (RPU), the smuggler had evaded taxes amounting to over Rwf19.5 million.

RPU is a Rwanda National Police arm attached to Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) to fight fraud and smuggling, and other dubious business practices aimed at evading taxes.

Gasasira said the driver had no any traffic related documents for the vehicle.

It later emerged that all the documents were in another vehicle, which was transporting informers, Police said.

The informers would communicate with those in the Fuso on the whereabouts of security personnel.

According to the suspects, they loaded the merchandise in Rusizi District on the shores of Lake Kivu.

They also disclosed that the bales had been smuggled into the country by boat from the Democratic Republic of Congo and that they are owned by a Kigali based businessman.

Article 199 of the East African Community Management Act, which is also used in Rwanda, specifies a penalty of $5000 to a driver found driving a vehicle with smuggled goods while the vehicle and goods are auctioned.

Last month, the RNP marine unit in Rutsiro District, intercepted a 319 bales of used shoes and 50 bales of secondhand clothes that were being smuggled into the country through Lake Kivu.

The merchandise weighing about 10.5 tonnes had evaded about Rwf48.7 million in taxes.

A kilogramme of used clothes and shoes pays $4 in taxes.