Police recover Rwf428m stolen from businessman

Police are holding six people suspected of conniving to rob $725,000 (about Rwf502 million) from a Burundian-born businessman.
Police hand over recovered money to Somji in Kigali yesterday. (Timothy Kisambira)
Police hand over recovered money to Somji in Kigali yesterday. (Timothy Kisambira)

Police are holding six people suspected of conniving to rob $725,000 (about Rwf502 million) from a Burundian-born businessman.

Police was able to recover $618,000 (about Rwf428 million), which was returned to the owner, Karim Somji, yesterday, at the Police headquarters in Kacyiru.

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Businessman Somji addresses journalists on the suspected heist at Police headquaters at Kacyiru yesterday.

The rest of the money is believed to be held by the seventh suspect, who managed to escape and is believed to be hiding in Uganda, according to the Police Spokesperson, Chief Superintendent Celestin Twahirwa.

Somji is the proprietor of Golden Gold, a company trading in minerals.

The robbery incident occurred on May 24, when the money was being transported by Hyacinth Gahunde, an employee of Golden Gold, in a vehicle from Rubavu to be banked in Kigali, Police said.

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Journalists take photos of recovered money at Kacyiru Poilce headquarters yesterday.

On reaching Shyorongi Sector in Rulindo, Gahunde and his driver were stopped by two men wearing Police uniforms, masquerading as Traffic officers and in possession of guns.

They were then robbed at gunpoint, allegedly cuffed and dumped in a nearby bush. However, the two apparently cuffed persons managed to notify Police using a mobile phone.

“Our investigations indicate that all those involved, including the money transporters; Gahunde and the driver, and the robbers were all part of a planned heist. It involved seven individuals and we were able to arrest six of them,” Twahirwa said.

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A police officer puts back the recovered money in the bag.

“Among those arrested include a Police officer who provided the uniforms and guns that the thieves used to conduct the robbery and an army sergeant who was one of the two suspected robbers who masqueraded as a Traffic officer.”

Police mounted intense investigations and three days after the robbery incident, the suspects were arrested.

The Police spokesperson also warned against individual transfer of such huge amounts of money, noting that it encourages robbery, besides tempting the responsible persons.

“People must take care of their money and valuables effectively without taking unnecessary risks. It is not understandable how someone can physically carry all that money yet they can use automated money-transfer methods that are available throughout the country,” Twahirwa said.

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One of the suspects speaks to media yesterday at Kacyiru Police Headquaters. (All photos by Timothy Kisambira)

It was not immediately clear where the money was being transported from.

Armed robbery attracts imprisonment of six to eight years on conviction, while formation of a criminal gang attracts five to seven years in prison.

Last evening, Police also questioned the manner of the transaction in such a huge sum of money.

“We are also wondering how huge cash of the kind could be transported for such a long journey in an ordinary car. This leaves us questioning it’s source and purpose,” Twahirwa said.

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