The Rwanda National Police (RNP) has announced that in the last three months, at least 74 civilians, the majority of whom were drivers, were arrested trying to bribe their way out of various offences.
According to latest statistics from police, 43 of the suspects were arrested since the beginning of the month alone, with 15 during the course of last week.
On Thursday, 12 people were arrested including 10, who tried to offer a bribe of Rwf100,000 to security officers in Bugesera District after they were caught smuggling hides and skins into the country through a porous border post.
Two other people were arrested on Friday in Ngororero and Nyagatare districts.
The Ngororero suspect is said to have tried to offer a bribe of Rwf5,000 to buy his way out of traffic offences while one Jackson Agaba attempted to seduce an officer in Nyagatare with Rwf4,000 to avoid being arrested for trafficking contraband after he was found with three cartons of Chief Waragi, a banned gin.
Police spokesperson Celestin Twahirwa said most people involved in these criminal acts are drivers, drug traffickers and smugglers.
Article 641 of the Penal Code stipulates that any person who directly or indirectly offers a gift in order to get an illegal service or refrain from carrying out their duties shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of between five and seven years or a fine of twice to ten times the value of what they had offered in bribes or both.
Twahirwa warned offenders against illegal acts and trying to bribe officers to get away.
He appealed to Rwandans to refrain from tendencies of graft adding that the Force put in place measures to deal with corruption-related acts both internally and countrywide.
The initiatives include the establishment of the anti-corruption commission, Force disciplinary unit, online registration of driver’s licence seekers, internal audits, and an ethics centre.
The Ethics Centre, located at the Police headquarters in Kacyiru, was established in 2012 to promote professional standards, values and norms of officers and employees of other public and private companies, among others.
“We all know corruption is a taboo in Rwanda, let alone in Rwanda National Police, because of its effects on the economy and well-being of families, especially if the family is depending on the culprit,” Twahirwa said.
“No one should buy a freely given legal service and should report whoever tries to solicit money or any other thing as a prerequisite to acquire a free service.”
He warned drivers against breaching traffic rules and using money to buy their way out adding that the Force’s eyes are wide open against such individuals.