Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) has seized 585 bales of African fabric made in China (Bitenge) belonging to city tycoon Valens Kibyeyi, the famous wholesaler of Bitenge in town who is accused of smuggling goods and evading taxes.
A source at RRA told Taarifa that the goods have a customs value of Rwf 4.312 billion worth Rwf 2.8 billion in duties and taxes.
Taarifa has learned that Kibyeyi is beleived to be conducting his operations in Kigali downtown where he established about eight companies that are registered under the names of the people of whom some claim to be unaware that they legally own the companies. None of them has the financial means to own a company.
Kibyeyi himself owns two companies since 2016. He owns Manual Trading Ltd and Imani textile Ltd. Taarifa has also learned that one of the people registered on these Kibyeyi’s dummy companies is his domestic worker while another one is a luggage carrier in town.
Among the companies include S. Bitenge Trading Co. registered under one Samuel Niyomugabo and Kindly New Goods LTD registered under Marie Rose Nikuze, Baze Company LTD registered under Martin Nsengimana, Rondon LTD registered under Bernardine Niyoyita, Baga Ltd registered under Solange Mukasonga and Printed company LTD.
Rondon, Baze and Baga Ltd are being investigated for smuggling and fraudulent acts in their operations where the three companies have treacherously exited consignments out of customs without paying customs duties.
Some of the treacherous techniques used to evade taxes and other duties include creating many dummy companies, cutting customs seals put on their consignments, declaring consignments as on transit while their destination is within the country.
RRA told Taarifa that they have seized a consignment of Rondon Ltd and some of Kibyeyi’s goods. The case will be submitted to the competent authorities for further investigations and prosecution.
Informants who followed this case closely prove that Baze Ltd imported nine consignments of fabric materials and ended up declaring and paying customs duties for only two consignments. Baga Ltd imported one consignment and never declared it while Rondon Ltd imported five consignments and evaded all taxes.
RRA told Taarifa that investigations are ongoing to ascertain how much revenues it lost in the cartel.
According to the customs management act, Kibyeyi’s malpractices are punished by article No 200 regarding the fraudulent entry of goods which can attract imprisonment to a period not exceeding five years and a penalty equivalent to 50% of the total cost of seized goods or both sentences.
Article 195 of the same law regarding the removal of customs seal is punished with a sentence of imprisonment not exceeding three years or a penalty not exceeding US$2,500 or both sentences.
Tax evasion crime is punished by article no: 86 of the tax procedure law regarding the creation of dummy companies. In case the suspect is convicted of this crime, he shall be sentenced with imprisonment between two and five years.
All other accomplices who include Jean Damascene Uwimana, a close ally to Kibyeyi, clearing agents, and RRA staff who supported these malpractices shall be sentenced with imprisonment not exceeding five years as per the customs management act.