Buying and selling stolen items is illegal in Rwanda. Heavy punishments can be administered accordingly.
Electronics are among the most stolen and sold items so far.
The enforcement of the regulations governing traders of used electrical and electronic equipment has continued to take shape. The Rwanda National Police (RNP) held a special meeting with dealers and technicians operating in Nyarugenge District on Thursday, July 28, to collectively fight related crimes.
The meeting, which brought together over 130 participants, was held at the RNP General Headquarters in Kacyiru.
The regulations, which clearly specify all the requirements for one to trade in electrical and electronic equipment, came into force early July 2022.
The regulator, Rwanda Inspectorate, Competition and Consumer Protection Authority (RICA) now requires traders to apply for a license valid for two year, renewable. Those already in business have up to October2022 to have acquired the operating license.
Business operators will now be required to ensure that used electrical and electronic equipment meet the safety standards, and to always record description of the equipment bought and sold.
RNP Spokesperson, Commissioner of Police (CP) John Bosco Kabera, while speaking to traders and technicians, urged them to revise their business operations in line with the regulations.
“Doing business related to used electrical and electronic equipment is not prohibited. However, it must follow regulations,” said CP Kabera.
He added that there are cases where people vandalize power lines to steal cables causing outage; those stealing mobile phones and television sets. Most of those stolen, he added, are sold to those selling used electrical and electronic equipment.
“If you have been engaged in such illegal black businesses, you are advised to adopt to the new way of doing business because the old way was fueling theft and affecting public security,” CP Kabera said.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Toussaint Muzezayo, Commissioner for Anti-Smuggling and Organized Crimes (ASOC) advised them to make best choices to buy or sell equipment received through legal channels as specified by the regulations.
During the meeting, participants were enlightened on the new regulations governing trade of used electrical and electronic equipment.
Traders thanked RNP for the meeting to apprise them on the regulations. “These regulations came as a solution to the disorders, which was affecting our business. It is now up to us to realign our businesses with the regulations to fight theft,” Jean Bosco Izabiriza, a trader, said.
Rehema Umuruta, a technician, says there were gaps in the business related to used electrical and electronic equipment.
“I started my business 20 years ago. However, our business was not going well because of fraud. People were buying electronics without minding about the source and buying stolen items,” Umuruta said.
According to the regulations, before buying second-hand electronics, the business operator must first verify that the seller is the rightful owner of the equipment and record detailed particulars.
Traders will be required to keep records for at least two years, indicate the category, brand and model name, model number, serial number, information relating to International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) and International Mobile Equipment Identity Software Version (IMEI-SV) per slot where applicable; any other distinguished marks or features, where applicable and equipment status description.