In the recent weeks, Uganda Revenue Authority enforcement officers in Mutukula, Masaka, Madi Oepi and Elegu merged efforts to clean the market of illicit traders. Their joint efforts conversed smugglers of textiles, motorcycles, cigarettes, braids, sweets and so much more.
A sino truck Reg. No. UBK 632X, was intercepted by the Mutukula team as it attempted to smuggle into 1,024 rolls of assorted textiles which had been loaded from the Tanzanian side. After a speed chase with the truck driver in the dark of the night, the truck driver attempted to divert the truck back to Tanzania through Kyakatuma. However, the URA team relentlessly followed and intercepted the truck with its contents Kamuli Trading Center Verification revealed 1,024 rolls of textiles (made up of 47 bales) and 298 pieces of Braids from brands such as Prima Afro, EzBraid Hair braid, Kiki Curl hair braids, Pony Braid, Curly Pop braids and Spring Curl braids.
In a similar incident, the Madi Opei team visited Lamwo and Kitgum districts to engage with the non-compliant motorcycles that are becoming a tax pain in the area. This approach was in tandem with the URA enforcement strategy that seeks to educate and engage taxpayers before deploying the enforce aspect.
While targeting foreign registered (Kenyan & South Sudanese), Numberless, and duty-free motorcycles that have been purchased by individuals mostly from NGOs without payment of taxes and formal change of ownership, the team had to seize 40 Motorcycles and intercepted 250 Bombas (5 Cartons) of Supermatch Cigarettes meant for Export, 12 jerry cans of cooking oil, 12 jerry cans of petrol, 15 cartons of Benny curry powder, 5 Cartons of Biscuits & 1 Carton of Colgate
The Masaka enforcement team also encountered a sweets smuggler in a sour situation. The team intercepted motor vehicle Reg. No. UAX 439F, a Toyota Ipsum that was loading 3,024 packets of Ivori sweets from Tanzania. The car tried to use ungazetted customs routes but was intercepted around Matete as it attempted to move the loot to Kampala through Sembabule.
The team in Elegu equally harvested 31 cartons of smuggled Colgate toothpaste that was being transported by a Toyota Alphard Reg No. UBD 422U which are all under further management by the enforcement teams.
Throughout the fiscal year 2022/23, customs enforcement operations across the country, recovered a total of UGX 132.77 billion through 14,187 seizures. Of these, 7.11% was outright smuggling, in addition to under-declaration at 42.61%, mis-description/false documentation at 11.70%, undervaluation at 4.54%, misclassification at 1.12 per cent, concealment at 0.60 per cent, and other offenses at 32.96 per cent.