Police in Muhanga District has arrested two people and seized several scores of smuggled illicit gins and plastic bags.
The Southern Region Police Spokesperson, Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Emmanuel Kayigi identified the suspects in police custody as Sylvere Simpenzwe 41yrs and Julienne Habumukiza.
The seized items and substances include 5844 packets of blue sky, and illicit gin, 37 packets of plastic bags of which each packet contained 200 pieces of plastic bag. Also the suspects were found with two smuggled bales of second-hand clothing.
“The suspects were arrested following a tip off from well-wishers that had seen the duo transporting the item. Immediately we worked with other security organs in a well-coordinated operation, arrested the suspects and seized the substances,” said CIP Kayigi. The suspects are currently held at Nyamabuye police stations pending farther investigations.
CIP Kayigi also warned against anyone who smuggle, attempt to sell or circulate non-biodegradable plastic bags saying that, “We warn anyone who attempted to deal in polythene bags that it is illegal and punishable by law.”
He added that, “Use of plastic bags is prohibited since 2008. From then, we have put up several mechanisms including legal provisions against use of plastic bags. We have also encouraged the public to be alert and report anybody dealing in any materials that degrade the environment.”
According to Article 433 of the Penal Code, “any person who sells polythene without authorisation shall be liable to a fine of Rwf10, 000 to Rwf300, 000…Using polythene bags also attracts a fine of up to Rwf100, 000, but in case the person repeats the offence, the penalty is doubled.”
Rwanda with a vision to maintain a clean, healthy and wealthy environment has by law banned the use of non-biodegradable plastic bags. Rwanda has etched its name in the global environmental records for successfully managing to abolish the use polythene that are a threat to the ecosystem.
On the illicit gins, CIP Kayigi said, “these are psychotropic substances classified as narcotic drugs under the law governing narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and precursors in Rwanda, and that gives every Rwandan a responsibility to fight it by reporting dealers.”
In its article 24, it states that “any drink that exceeds forty five percent of alcohol and any other drink which doesn’t have the required quality for consumption shall be considered as narcotic drug.”
“Any drink parked in sachets or plastic bags is illegal and considered illicit; besides, such drinks don’t meet the required standards and their alcoholic content pose danger to consumers; we urge the public, our strong partners, to press on in this fight,” he warned.
Under 594 of the Penal Code, any person who unlawfully, makes, transforms, imports, or sells narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances within the country, shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of up to five years and a fine of up to Rwf5 million.