Police in Rubavu District is holding nine people said to have been conning unsuspecting members of the public with fake minerals.
They were arrested in an operation conducted on March 28 in Kivumu Cell, Gisenyi Sector.
At least 2000kgs fake coltan was recovered from the suspects during the operation. The fake minerals were packed in 24 sacks, Police said.
Police spokesperson for the Western Region, Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Innocent Gasasira said that there was information about a group of people that defraud people with fake minerals.
“During investigations, we found out that there is a group that smuggles fake minerals and kept in the house of one Rehema Muhawenimana,” CIP Gasasira said.
“We later got information that the same group will be bringing the same fake minerals to the same house, an operation was conducted and they were arrested at the scene with about 2000kgs of fake coltan concealed in 24 sacks,” he added.
The suspects and the seized substances were taken to Gisenyi police station as investigations into the matter proceeds.
“Investigations seek to establish if there are other people involved so as to be arrested, or the number of people that might have fallen prey,” Gasasira explained.
“What is clear is that the house of Muhawenimana, who is among those in custody, was their base to look for people to defrauding. They would show samples of real coltan to their target to make them believe that the whole consignment was real,” he said.
“This is fraud and punishable under article 318 of the penal code.”
The article states that “Any person who, intentionally obtains a property belonging to another person fraudulently or by using false names or qualities, to give rise to hope or fear of harm and obtains a part or whole of a fortune shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of three to five years and a fine of between Rwf3 million and Rwf5 million.”