The Revenue Protection Department (RPD), yesterday, confiscated 80 cartons of liquor smuggled into the country from Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo.
The merchandise was worth an estimated Rwf25 million.
The goods were found concealed in a secret compartment of a truck with registration number RAA 446L, driven by 28-year old Cassien Kayitare, a resident of Kirehe District in the Eastern Province.
Tipped off by an informant, officers in the Revenue Protection Unit (RPU) of the National Police trailed the vehicle until it was stopped in Shyorongi Sector, Rulindo District.
It was then steered to RPD premises in Gikondo, where various cartons of alcohol, including; J&B, Amarula, Johnnie Walker and Moet Champaign brands were uncovered after a thorough search.
Upon questioning by police, Kayitare confessed that he had, twice been involved in the same deal, but denied ownership of the goods.
He, however, claimed that a Rwandan businessman, only identified as John, was the owner and paid him Rwf 500,000 each time he transported the goods from Goma.
The Commander of RPU, Supt. Rafiki Musisi said; “We erect check points to verify vehicle documents and catch tax evaders. In the recent past, we have achieved a lot in intercepting smuggled merchandise,” Musisi said.
Police Spokesman, Supt. Eric Kayiranga, said that police deployed a unit of 76 officers in RPU to assist in gathering information, and detect smugglers.
According to Robert Mugabe, the Director of RPD, smuggling activities increase especially during the festive period due to increased market demands, with traders wanting to make exorbitant profits by evading taxes.
“The Ugandan and Congolese borders are the most frequently used routes for smugglers as we have witnessed in the recent past. But our department is determined to fight this act,” Mugabe said.
“We commend the concerned ordinary citizens who give us information about these activities which serve to destabilize our economy”.
He said that under the EAC Customs Act, article 99, smuggled goods and the vehicle used would be confiscated and the owner charged a fine not exceeding $5,000.
On Christmas Eve last year, RPD also seized tones of goods worth over Rwf 40 million smuggled into the country from Uganda under the guise of being in transit to Goma.