By Our Reporter
Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has reported increased and continuous smuggling in some areas in Eastern Uganda.
This was revealed in a press statement issued today, 1st December, 2023 where the Tax Body says that following reports on continuous smuggling in some areas in the Eastern Uganda, the Mbale enforcement team deployed in the surrounding areas and closed off a number of consolidation centers in the past few days.
Some of these Consolidation Centers were in Pallisa, Butebo where URA recovered smuggled items like; 50 cartons of wheat flour and 30 bags of rice from Kenya.
“The operation did not stop there, it moved to Mbale and Bukwo.
In Mbale, 23 tyres of ling long brand from China were recovered from a mini store along North Road,” says the statement.
In Bukwo, an Isuzu truck, registration number UBJ 379P was impounded with smuggled goods.
According to Onesmus Amwiine, an enforcement officer in Mbale, the driver and his turn-boy took off with the keys to frustrate the taxman. Unfortunately, this did not work. The vehicle was towed away to the URA offices.
On verification, other additional items discovered included; 185 cartons of golden wheat from Kenya, 54 cartons of Dunia wheat flour and 30 bags of Mara rice made in Kenya.
Meanwhile, a consolidation center is a facility where a smuggler after successfully getting his contraband finally gathers it all together to do ‘business.’
Godson Mwesigye, the Manager Enforcement Operations also warned truck owners on engaging in smuggling.
“If you have a truck, be sure of the driver you are recruiting and guide them on what do and keep monitoring your truck. Otherwise, if we get smuggled goods in it [truck], you will forfeit to government,” Mwesigye warned.
Mwesigye also added that those continuously engaged in illicit trade will be penalized to ease facilitation for compliant taxpayers. The enforcement operations will also continue to ensure that Customs collects its due revenue this financial year.