In the early hours of September 30th, officers from the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) received a tip about a smuggling operation underway on Lake Victoria. Assorted phones were reportedly being transported by boat from Tanzania to enter Uganda illegally.
URA immediately swung into action, deploying officers both on land and water to monitor the situation. They also coordinated with the Fisheries Protection Unit to bolster surveillance efforts across the lake.
At around 3:00am, the smugglers’ boat was sighted landing at Buvuma Island. However, in an attempt to evade detection, the boat then diverged course and tried to dock at Masese Landing site in Jinja District instead.
Luck was not on the smugglers’ side. The boat registration number UV 004467 was promptly intercepted by Fisheries Protection Unit officers stationed at Buvuma. With support from UPDF soldiers, the boat along with its 40 horsepower engine and illicit cargo was escorted directly to Masese.
Upon inspection by URA officer Winfred Kusiima, the boat was found to contain over 150 cartons of various phone models including Techno, Itel and Villaon. Additional items like cookers and cement were also discovered.
Kusiima noted that impounding the boat was necessary as it would be difficult to transport the sizable wooden vessel all the way to Iganga for further processing. Another success in URA’s ongoing efforts to combat smuggling across Uganda’s porous borders.