$1 000 Fine For Not Wearing Face Mask

Eugene Amuri, a vendor at the Kimironko market wears a handmade "kitenge" cloth mask as he attempts to protect against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Kigali, Rwanda March 17, 2020. REUTERS/Maggie Andresen

THE government has doubled the fine for not wearing a face mask or breaching Covid-19 restrictions to $1 000, up from the previous $500.

The maximum fine for the highest Level 14 is now $1,6 million, up from $800 000, which applies to cases where a fine, with or without additional jail time is considered appropriate for offences like treason, arson, culpable homicide and incest.

The maximum for the lowest Level 1, which can be used for admission of guilt fines at a police station is now $1 000.

The new fines were published in a Statutory Instrument published in a Government Gazette last week in terms of Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

Admission of guilt fines can be administered through the police, largely for offences covered by Level One to Three, although the maximum need not be levied, crimes included in Level Four up to Level 14 normally are dealt with in the magistrates’ courts or the High Court.

Judicial officers can set fines lower than the maximum after taking into account mitigating some of the minor offences include driving without due care, public drinking, public fighting and other minor traffic offences.

Mid-level Level Six offences include contempt of court, crimen injuria and indecent exposure.

Offences such as abortion and perjury are in Level 10 and attract a fine or five years or both.

The new levels are:

Level                 Monetary amount $

1                              1 000

2                              2 000

3                              5 000

4                              20 000

5                              30 000

6                              60 000

7                              120 000

8                              200 000

9                              240 000

10                           280 000

11                           400 000

12                           800 000

13                            1 200 000

14                            1 600 000

Secretary in the ministry of justice Virginia Mabhiza said the new fine levels should help contain cases of lockdown violations.

“The review has been motivated by the realisation that the current scale, especially Level One to Three are undeterrent,” she told the state media.

“This is evidenced by the increase in the number of members of the public flouting the Covid-19 regulations, with commuter omnibus flouting traffic laws.”

Mabhiza said as at January 19, about 341 251 people had been arrested for violating Covid-19 regulations since March last year.

“This shows a huge number of infractions. The view is that the low fines may be contributing to a number of the violations due to increased recklessness and an attitude by the public that they can pay their way out.”