URA busts mobile phone smuggling route

Kampala- Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has bust a route used by smugglers of mobile phones into Uganda and impounded mobile phones worth Shs34 million.

The smugglers have been using the Mirama Hills shortcuts in Ntungamo District near Uganda-Rwanda border to ferry in mobile phones from Rwanda.

Ms Sarah Banage, the URA spokesperson, said the Uganda-Rwanda border has not been known as a smuggling route for such items until recently when their enforcement team followed up a tip off.

“Rwanda charges lower taxes on mobile phones than Uganda which means their mobile phones, are cheaper than those in Uganda,” Ms Banage said.

“Due to the porousness of Uganda-Rwanda border, smugglers bring into Uganda electronic gadgets including mobile phones bulk into their homes in districts of Ntungamo and Isingiro then transport few pieces to the market to avoid detection,” she added.

Uganda tax collectors have been concentratingtheir surveillance on Kenya and Tanzania borders like Mutukula, Busia and Malaba where smuggling is most prevalent.
But in the latest incident, a vehicle carrying smuggled mobile phones was intercepted by URA enforcement officers at Ruti on Mbarara-Kabale Road.
Ms Banage said the suspects recorded a statement with them and they have been given an option to repay the taxes and fines.

A smuggler, once caught, is expected to pay taxes for the smuggled goods in addition to a fine slapped on the vehicle being using.

abagala@ug.nationmedia.com

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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