KIGALI: Police arrest three in operations against skin bleaching products, polythene bags

Ahishakiye Clementine, Twagiramungu Samuel and Mugesera Fidele arrested with skin bleaching products and polythene bags.

Rwanda National Police (RNP) has arrested three people in City of Kigali in operations targeting dealers in outlawed products including skin bleaching creams and oil as well as non-biodegradable polythene bags.

The trio was showed to the media on Thursday, June 10, at Police Metropolitan Headquarters in Remera, Gasabo District

They are Samuel Twagiramungu, 40, Fidele Mugesera, 40, and Clementine Ahishakiye, 27.

Twagiramungu and Mugesera were apprehended in Kigali Sector, Nyarugenge District with 156 pieces of assorted skin whitening creams including Caro light, Eclair 600, Extra Clair, White Max and Beauty.

Ahishakiye was arrested in Kinyinya Sector, Gasabo District with 27 cartons of plastic bags.

Twagiramungu said he was buying the outlawed lotions from street vendors at a cheaper price.

Ahishakiye admitted that he started selling plastic bags more than a month ago.

"I was buying the polythene bags in Rulindo District and selling them from home in Kinyinya Sector. I never thought I could be arrested," said Ahishakiye.

RNP spokesperson, Commissioner of Police (CP) John Bosco Kabera said the suspects were arrested as a result of the strong collaboration between the police and citizens through information sharing.

"We have over and again warned and raised awareness against selling and using these outlawed harmful products," CP Kabera said.

He added: "We have talked about the dangers of skin bleaching creams and oils to the users as explained by medical experts and the laws and regulations in Rwanda. It is the same with polythene bags, which pose danger to the ecosystem. Those who have kept deaf eyes will be arrested to face the law."

CP Kabera warned that Police heightened operations against dealers in banned products and that "no one will be tolerated."

The RNP spokesperson further thanked the public for sharing information leading to the arrest of dealers.

Article 266 of the law determining offences and penalties in general states that any person who produces, sells or prescribes a drug; harmful products; cosmetics, body hygiene substances or any other products derived from plants; commits an offence. 

Upon conviction, he/she is liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than one year and not more than two years and a fine of not less than Frw3 million  and not more than Frw5 million or only one of these penalties.

Manufacturing, use, importation or sale of plastic carry bags and single-use plastic items are prohibited under article 3 of law N° 17/2019 of 10/08/2019 relating to the prohibition of manufacturing, importation, use, and sale of plastic carry bags and single-use plastic items in Rwanda.

In article 10, any person, who imports plastic carry bags and single-use plastic items is liable to the dispossession of those plastic carry bags and such items, and to an administrative fine equivalent to ten times the value of those plastic carry bags and single-use plastic items.

In article 11, a wholesaler of plastic carry bags and single use plastic items is liable to an administrative fine of Frw700, 000 and dispossession of those plastic carry bags and such items.

In article 12, a retailer of plastic carry bags and single-use plastic items is liable to an administrative fine of Frw300, 000 and dispossession of those plastic carry bags.


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