Police in Burera District, in partnership with Rwanda Investigations Bureau (RIB), on May 22, intercepted a Toyota Land Cruiser carrying 30 sacks of smuggled minerals weighing 1700kgs.
The vehicle, plate number RAB 038 E, and carrying wolfram and cassiterite was intercepted as it entered Rwanda from Uganda through a porous border in Buhita sector, Police said.
Police also arrested two men; a driver and a co-driver.
The Northern Region Police Spokesperson, Chief Inspector of Police Hamdun Twizeyimana, said: “Residents who reside around Buhita informed us that there was a vehicle overloaded with mineral sacks.”
“We immediately contacted all the relevant authorities, including Rwanda Revenue Authority. We mounted a checkpoint and when the vehicle came, we asked the occupants for the mineral documents but they didn’t have any, and they were taken into custody, the vehicle and minerals also impounded,” he added.
The suspects are also not licensed mineral dealers, he said.
“Mining is done by authorised dealers and minerals are supposed to be tagged before they are transported by a licensed dealer. When police officers find you without such legal documents to be in mineral dealings they will arrest you,” he explained.
Article 1 of the Ministerial Regulations No 001/Minifom/2011 relating to fighting smuggling in mineral trading stipulates that nobody is allowed to purchase or sell minerals without commercial registration.
Article 4 of the same instrument indicates that transportation of minerals outside mining licensed areas (concessions and permits perimeters) is only allowed, when the consignment shows the source mine, its value and when it has the right tag.
Article 438 of the penal code, stipulates that; “Any person who undertakes illegal research or illegally carries out commercial activities in valuable minerals, shall be liable to imprisonment of six months to one year and a fine of up to Rwf10 million.”
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.