The Ministry of Trade and Industries (MINICOM) in partnership with Kayonza District authorities, yesterday confiscated an illegal rice milling machine from a trader in Kabarondo Sector.
Obed Zigamane was nabbed with the machine as part of an operation mounted by the ministry to eliminate the use of illegal rice milling machines.
According to MINICOM, this is the second time Zigamane had been apprehended with a similar machine that was also impounded.
The culprit further traded in the commodity using a trading and milling licence belonging to Emmanuel Muhimana, a businessman from Kirehe District. Upon further investigation, the officials realised that the latter owned a storage facility containing over two tonnes of rice near Kabarondo market.
MINICOM fined Zigamana and Muhimana a total of Rwf 500,000 and Rwf 200,000, respectively, for the conspiracy.
Speaking to The New Times, Muhimana admitted ownership of the rice trading licence, which Zigamane used to trade with and begged the authorities for clemency, though Zigamane stubbornly said he would appeal against the penalty.
“I don’t agree with the punishment meted by MINICOM. I am ready to appeal this decision in the courts of law,” Zigama vowed.
The acting Director of Internal Trade Department at MINICOM, Gaudence Mukamurenzi , said illegal milling machines had led to a rise in rice prices and compromised quality countrywide.
“I encourage all business people who engage in rice to stop the habit of using illegal milling machines because they are very dangerous in as far as rice production is concerned since they compromise the quality of rice and even lead to a decrease in the quantity,” Mukamurenzi said.
The Vice Mayor of Kayonza District, Benoit Ndikubwabo, warned residents against using illegal rice milling machines, warning that anyone caught doing so would be dealt with accordingly.
Ndikubwabo further asked residents to always inform security organs and concerned institutions whenever they identify such illegal activities in the district.