Two clearing agents are under police custody for illegally soliciting extra money from a client whom they had facilitated to clear his vehicle at customs.
The duo is Eric Mwesigye owner of MEG Company- a clearing firm and Daniel Nzabonimana who works at the firm.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Police Spokesperson of Kigali City, Supt. Modeste Mbabazi, said that they were arrested on Monday after the client reported the case to police.
He explained that the duo had taken Rwf450,000 from a client only identified as Sebatware, claiming that it was fee to for the number plate.
“The laws are clear, and it is important that people read these laws so that they avoid conmen. Whenever there is suspicion, alert Police and we shall ensure that the public is protected from such criminals.” Superintendent Mbabazi advised.
Mwesigye denied involvement claiming that it was his employee who requested the client to give him extra money.
However, Nzabonimana pleaded guilty saying that they had done that to many clients and that his boss ordered them to do so.
Normally, once a vehicle is imported, a clearing agent has to prepare for a transit document to the national warehouse (Magerwa) in Gikondo which is validated on arrival, thereafter, the agent has to declare the vehicle for home consumption (to be used in Rwanda) thereby automatically generating the due taxes to be paid on that particular vehicle.
The taxes include the value added tax, customs duties, withholding tax, consumption tax and number plate fees.
On receiving the due taxes, the clearing agent then has to pay the identified taxes to RRA and presents receipts for further processing.
In an interview, the Commissioner for Customs Services, Raphael Tugirumuremyi, said that it was very sad to hear that some unscrupulous clearing agents abuse their vital role to the business community.
“We cannot tolerate this behavior among our partners; it is an act that undermines the integrity of clearing agents and portrays a bad image of the taxation environment” Raphael Tugirumuremyi said.
He added that the suspects once convicted, face serious sanctions including scraping of operational license.