The police have said that the highest level of vigilance by the business community and the public has become a great and successful tool in fighting the circulation of counterfeit currencies in the country.
The force said that airtime vendors and mobile banking agents, forex bureaus, banks and small shops in villages, which used to be the most targeted, have today become a major source in identifying and arresting people involved in this financial crime.
On Tuesday, six people were arrested in separate attempts to fleece businesses with fake currency amounting to about Rwf7,380,000 in total.
In Gisenyi Sector of Rubavu, a man was arrested at a forex bureau with €7,200 in fake notes which he was trying to exchange.
A similar incident happened in a forex bureau in Kimisagara, Nyarugenge where two men were apprehended trying to exchange fake dollars amounting to $600, while another man was arrested at a commercial bank in Kigali city centre after among the money he was depositing Rwf 90,000 in fake notes were found.
Finally, two men were arrested in Kicukiro and Gasabo with fake notes valued at Rwf10,000 and Rwf2,000, respectively, with which they were trying to make purchases.
“The level of vigilance is very high, and that’s we register an increase in arrests in the recent past,” said Supt. Emmanuel Hitayezu, police spokesman for the City of Kigali. “This should send a strong message to anyone still involved in such financial crimes.”
About 88 cases related to counterfeit currency have been registered since July.
“Although these are isolated cases that are not alarming, we appeal to the public to remain watchful because such fraudsters are there, and to always inform the police whenever they see or suspect a case,” Hitayezu added.
Under article 603 of the penal code, circulating counterfeited currency is punishable by a jail sentence of up to three years.
A recent report by the National Bank of Rwanda however indicates that counterfeit currency is estimated at only 0.001% of the money in circulation.