The police’s Revenue Protection Unit (RPU) and Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) have in a joint operation seized over 600 boxes of wines and spirits that had been fraudulently taken out of the customs stores.
The goods belonging to a local businessman were seized on Tuesday in the City of Kigali. According to RRA customs commissioner Raphael Tugirumuremyi, the smuggler had evaded taxes of Rwf 70 million.
Chief supt. Sam Bugingo, the commanding officer of RPU, a police arm attached to RRA to fight fraud and smuggling, said the businessman had initially declared 1245 boxes at Dar es Salaam port in Tanzania.
“Yet he declared only 600 boxes at customs in Rwanda. Following credible information from an informant, we intercepted the two trucks that were taking the goods to their stores, and after verification, we realized that 645 boxes had not been declared,” Bugingo explained.
“Some of the goods either had no tax stamps or were concealed in other boxes. Investigations are still underway even on previous records to find out if there were no similar fraudulent practices in his businesses before,” Tugirumuremyi added.
“Together with the police, we have strengthened operations against smuggling and fraud, and we are seeing a tremendous reduction in these illegal businesses,” he said.
“We have impounded the vehicle and the goods. In such a case, the East African Community Management Act, which we use, is very clear on penalties,” Bugingo stated.
In its article 199, it imposes a fine of US$5000 while the vehicle and the goods are auctioned. Under article 369 of the Rwandan Penal Code, the offender faces a penalty equal to the evaded tax.