KIGALI - Rwanda Bureau of Standards (RBS), yesterday, in a surprise inspection exercise, confiscated illicit alcohol in Gatsata Sector, a Kigali City suburb.
This was after the agency was informed that the area was awash with substandard food, beverages and other commodities.
RBS officials carried a surprise operation in which one, Catherine Mukantabana, was found to have been supplying substandard alcohol in various suburbs of Kigali which she branded ‘Agashinguracumu’.
The local brew has been on the market for over three years, the officials were told.
According to Dr. Mark Cyubahiro Bagabe, the Director General of RBS, the manufacturer did not seek approval from the body.
“First of all, the product lacks manufacturing and expiry dates, and they work under poor hygienic conditions. We can’t determine the nature of the brew,” said Cyubahiro, who led the inspection exercise.
“We are doing this to protect consumers and we will not compromise with the required minimum standards. Our responsibility is to help you upgrade the business as we protect the population from the dangers that may arise because of this.”
The brew is sold in another brewer’s bottles, which is contrary to the regulations of RBS. “They were using Heineken bottles, which is illegal,” Cyubahiro said.
Mukantabana said that she was in the process of upgrading her brewing standards and to abide with the rules and regulations of RBS.
“We were going to ensure that our alcohol meets RBS standards,” she said, adding that her brew is manufactured from bananas and millet, and its alcoholic content is 7.5, which, she said, was not very dangerous.
However, according to some residents, the brew had already killed two people.
“We know people who died from stomach complications after taking this alcohol; personally I develop funny feelings whenever I drink it,” said Theodore Niyirora.
Mukantabana has been producing over 300 crates of beer per week, with each bottle going for Rwf200.