Police in Rubavu District on Tuesday intercepted and impounded two vehicles that were carrying smuggled minerals and clothes.
The vehicles were intercepted at a roadblock mounted in Nyundo Sector, Chief Inspector of Police Innocent Gasasira, the Police spokesperson for the western region, said.
The vehicles were heading to Musanze District from Rubavu, he added.
“The speed at which the two vehicles were moving in the middle of the night aroused suspicion that they could be involved in illegal acts, and this prompted police officers in Gisenyi to alert their colleagues at Nyundo,” Gasasira said.
He added: “One vehicle; Congolese registered Land Cruiser CGO 1563AB19 had 420 kilogrammes of smuggled minerals – coltan and cassiterite – concealed in six sacks while another vehicles RAC 779T Toyota Rav4 type had seven bales of clothes.”
The drivers for both vehicles were taken into police custody.
The case, Gasasira said, has been taken up by the Revenue Protection Unit (RPU) – a Rwanda National Police arm in charge of fighting fraud and smuggling among other things.
Under the East African Community Management Act, especially in its article 199, anyone caught driving a vehicle with smuggled goods pays a fine of $5000 while the vehicle and the goods are auctioned.
Article 369 of the Rwandan Penal Code states that a taxpayer guilty of tax evasion shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of between three to six months and a fine equal to the evaded tax.
According to laws, minerals are supposed to be tagged before they are transported by licensed dealers or companies from one place to another, either within or outside the country.
Any person who receives or exports minerals and quarry substances without authorisation, under Article 440 of the Penal Code, is liable to a term of imprisonment of up to three years and a fine of two times the amount of the value of the received or exported substances.