MBARARA – Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) Enforcement team has arrested four officials attached to Parambot Distilleries after being found in possession of products affixed with fake digital stamps.
According to Ian Rumanyika, the Ag. Assistant Commissioner Public and Corporate Affairs at URA, the tax body’s enforcement team has been receiving numerous alerts on the prevalence of fake digital tax stamps in Southwestern Uganda with Star Waragi – the product singled out in many of the alerts.
Consequently, the team took to the region on a fact-finding mission eager to turn on the heat in pursuit of the protagonist (s) behind the fake stamping operation.
“Not before long into their search, the team landed on a batch of Royal Vodka with fake stamps in a shop in Kinyamaseke Trading Centre. The team probed the shop attendant who frantically divulged information pertaining to the supply of these goods carrying fake digital stamps,” Rumanyika says.
He adds that posing as the buyers, the Mbarara URA team arranged to collect the products from the culprit in Mbarara for delivery to Kasese.
“The suspects totally succumbed to the ruse and their delivery van reg no. UBF302V was intercepted in Rwebikoona, Mbarara City with products carrying fake stamps on board,” he says.
The case has since been forwarded to the intelligence and legal teams for further management, he says.
In a related development, the URA Karuma team gathered intelligence about a truck that was about to load assorted contraband items at a consolidation centre in Kora – a town between Gulu and Omoro districts.
The source was however not sure of the route of choice that the truck was to use given that one can connect from Kora to Lira through Bobi, totally cutting off the check points.
With this insight, the Karuma enforcement team devised means to secure all possible routes including the diversion through Bobi.
“The trailing intelligence deployed monitored the truck for two days furnishing the team with updates by the clock until the truck fell in the arms of the carefully positioned enforcers,” Rumanyika says.
He adds that the truck was successfully intercepted and verification revealed the following smuggled items;
1) 17 ctns x 6 tins x2.5kgs of Lato Milk for Export only.
2) 6 ctns x 6 tins x 2.5kgs of Nestle Nido powdered milk.
3) 10 ctns x 12 tins x 900grms of Al Mudhish super instant powdered milk.
4) 3 ctns x 6tins x 800 grms of FMA powdered milk.
6) 6 ctns x 6 tins x 2.5 kgs of Hilwa powdered milk.
7) 16 ctns x 24 tins x 400grms of Cerelac Nestel infant cereals with milk.
8) 560 kgs of Al- Fanar Basmati rice.
9) 23 ctns x 6 tins x 2.75kgs of Royal –V cocktail juice.
10) 45 ctns x 24 pcs of Atyab tomato puree made in Egypt.
11) 12 ctns x 60 sachets of Almudish tomato paste.
12) 20 ctns x 100 tins x 70 grms of Almudish tomato paste.
13) 20 ctns of Benny curry powder.
14) 10 ctns of Al Fakher apple flavored Shisha.
URA operations targeted high risk items with garments topping the list partly due to the changes in the law that took effect on 1st January, 2021 effectively increasing import duty payable on garments to about 35%.
“Other risk items targeted included wheat flour and cement which is a surprising risk considering that a few kilometres in Tororo lies the home of good quality Ugandan cement. Geographically, the operation zeroed in on the axis of Eastern Uganda, targeting consolidation centers in Marachi, Sofia, Mawero, Buteba, Nangwe and Amungura,” Rumanyika says.
He reveals that many sleepless nights, ambushes, unceasing surveillance and patrol drives later, the team started to realize fruits. By reporting time yesterday, the team had recovered the following items;
1) 04 Bales X 20 Pcs X 30Yards X 36? X 2Kgs/Pc of Printed Spun Rayon Shirting material
2) 03 Bales X 20 Pcs X30 Yards X36? X 2Kgs/Pc of Viscose Screen Printed material
3) 90 Rolls X 25Yards X58?X 4kgs/Roll of Plain polyester material
4) 30 Rolls X 25Yards X 58?X 4Kgs/Roll of Wool Peach Printed material
4) 25dozens of Ladies Polyester Scarfs
5) 40 Rolls X 30 Yards X 36?X 2Kgs/Roll of Viscose Screen Printed material
6) 01 Pkg X 36 Rolls X 30 Yards X 36?x 25kgs of Spun Rayon Shirting material
7) 13 Rolls X 55 Yards X 58? X 7.5 Kgs of Plain Polyester material
8) 150 Rolls X 25Yards X58”X4Kgs/Roll of Plain Polyester material
9) 283pcs of Assorted Motor vehicle parts
10) 32Bags X 50Kgs of Cement Branded Simba C.O.O Kenyan
11) 120ctnsx12pktsx2kgs of Kenyan Assorted Wheat flour? Rumanyika says offence management is underway.