Smuggled goods worth Rwf4b intercepted

The Revenue Protection Unit (RPU) intercepted goods smuggled into the country worth over Rwf4 billion in the last six years, the head of the unit confirmed.

The Revenue Protection Unit (RPU) intercepted goods smuggled into the country worth over Rwf4 billion in the last six years, the head of the unit confirmed.

Superintendent Emmanuel Karasi, the RPU head, said the Rwf4 billion includes recovered taxes that had been evaded through fraud and undervalued goods. 

RPU is attached to the Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA),

Last year alone, the police officer observed, RPU seized goods worth over Rwf1.2 billion while goods worth Rwf166 million have been intercepted since the beginning of this year.

“Fraudulent business has now changed form - to paper documents. Previously, we would intercept vehicles with smuggled merchandises, but this is fading away as now people involved in this criminal business undervalue their commodities so as to pay less taxes,” Supt. Karasi said.

 The Rwanda National Police (RNP) and RRA, late last year, strengthened their partnership with aim of helping tax administration in the enforcement of tax and customs laws to fight fraud and related crimes.

The partnership includes preventing, detecting and investigating cases related to combating tax evasion and smuggling and compiling statements for legal purposes.

Fraud is attributed to the nature of borders, which are porous.

Karasi noted that measures have been taken to crackdown on people involved in fraudulent activities, including conducting 24-hour operations at entry points, mounting surprise check-points on highways and physical verification of goods to see if they are not undervalued.

He advised the public to engage in ‘clean’ business to avoid losses they might incur through fraudulent acts, and warned drivers against taking part in illegal activities.

According to the law, any driver caught in fraud related crimes is fined not less than US$1,000 (approximately Rwf640, 000).

The officer called upon the public to continue sharing information on people involved in these criminal businesses through a toll-free line – 3005.

Anyone who provides information that leads to the seizure of the smuggled goods gets a reward of 10 per cent of the total cost of goods intercepted.

According to Amandine Musonera Tuyisangare, an officer with RRA attached to RPU, liquors and wines are the most smuggled goods into the country.  Other most smuggled goods include Nido, powder milk and women clothes, mostly from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Burundi.

Some of the goods are seized based on the information provided by whistleblowers and the community. 

Tuyisangare, who is in charge of stamping and classification, explained that goods seized are auctioned after two months.

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