At least 173 kilogrammes of untagged minerals were on May 16 intercepted in Rutsiro District as they were being smuggled to Kigali.
Police spokesperson for the Western Province, Inspector of Police Theobald Kanamugire, said a vehicle registration numbers RAC 251G, Land Cruiser type, was intercepted by Revenue Protection Unit (RPU) at a police roadblock in Miyira Cell of Manihira Sector, smuggling the minerals.
The spokesperson said that the driver identified as Jean Luc Niyimfasha, who was the only person on board, was also arrested and currently detained at Gihango Police station.
“Police officers were conducting routine checks at the roadblock in Rufunzo village when they discovered that the vehicle had minerals; the driver didn’t have legal documents permitting him to transport it, so he was immediately arrested while the vehicle and minerals were impounded pending further investigations,” IP Kanamugire said.
IP Kanamugire explained that the minerals were intercepted by the Revenue Protection Unit (RPU), a Rwanda National Police (RNP) arm charged with fighting fraud and smuggling.
“Besides having no transport papers, the mode of transporting the minerals contravened the guidelines which set that minerals should only be transported in a metallic container,” he explained.
“These are fraudulent dealings which are aimed at tax evasion. Minerals are supposed to be tagged before they are transported by licensed dealers or companies,” he said
Mining is one of Rwanda’s major revenue generators, fetching about $166 million while Wolfram prices also increased at about 40 per cent.
Rwanda National Police, through its Environmental Protection Unit (EPU), has been instrumental in fighting smuggling and enforcing the law, preservation of environment through environmental education, practical interpretation of the environmental laws.
In March, Police in Rulindo also intercepted about 600 kilogrammes of Wolfram that were being smuggled and arrested two people in connection with the illegal act.
Kanamugire said mining is also regulated to ensure standards and to protect the environment.