Rwanda Revenue Protection Police (RPU) has impounded a vehicle in Gisagara District that was transporting bales of smuggled clothes.
The vehicle was headed to Kigali, according to RPU, where it was supposed to deliver the bales.
According to Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Bonavanture Karekezi, the Police spokesperson for the Southern region, the goods were seized on March 19, in Musha sector.
He explained that RPU had received information about the smuggled goods and the vehicle that was being used, and laid an impromptu roadblock.
RPU operating under the Revenue Investigations and Enforcement Department (RIED) of Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA), is a Rwanda National Police arm attached to the tax body to fight fraud and smuggling, among others.
“Two smuggled bales were found in the vehicle with registration RAC 397N, but the driver was cooperative, he disclosed that the bales belong to one Jean de Dieu Twahirwa. He also led officers to a residential house where 12 other smuggled bales were recovered,” said CIP Karekezi.
Smuggling leads to serious loss in public revenues, unfair competition, income inequality, and economic imbalance, according to experts.
“While measures are being taken to stimulate the legal trade, we continue to fight against smuggling to prevent economic loss,” CIP Karekezi said.
A kilogram of used clothes and shoes pays US$4 in taxes. One bale weighs about 45 kilograms.
Under the East African Community Management Act, in article 199, the driver caught for fraud or smuggling goods, is slapped a fine of US$5000 while the vehicle and the goods are auctioned.