By Our Reporter
The Commissioner General of Uganda Revenue Authority,( URA,) Mr. John R. Musinguzi, has revealed that Uganda loses close to a billion shilling every month in tax revenue due to smuggling .
As a result , Musinguzi said that URA has strengthened its surveillance and monitoring units with capable personnel and put in place tough enforcement measures to stop smuggling of goods into the country . This move according to Musinguzi has led to recovery of Ug.Shs. 67.73 billion from 5823 seizures in operations across the country.
On Wednesday , Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) field services teams intercepted smugglers who were in possession of over 200 cartons of exotic pens worth 300 million shillings.
This was after a truck registration number UAE 050F accompanied by a van registration number UAZ 637N were seized along Mukono- Kayunga road.
The driver of the van identified as Davis Bakashabaruhanga wore Military fatigue and once flagged down he showed the URA officers a Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) identity card which they used to verify whether it was genuine .
According to Julius Nkwasire, the URA Assistant Commissioner in charge of Field Services, the team on ground quickly got in-touch with their counterparts in the UPDF to establish the authenticity of the flashed credentials and why the “soldier” was in possession of smuggled goods. UPDF refuted Bakashabaruhanga’s credentials and was immediately arrested.
Nkwasire explained that on interrogation of Bakashabaruhanga another suspect believed have coordinated the smuggling syndicate a one Emmanuel Kwesiga was also apprehended .
He added that investigations were still on-going and that all the culprits will be presented in courts of law. The UPDF spokesperson, Brig. Flavia Byekwaso condemned acts of abusing the military uniform emphasizing that this will not be tolerated.
She called on the public to be vigilant and report all such masqueraders who set out to tarnish the name of the UPDF
“This is a warning to all those involved in misusing the UPDF uniform. Today, these are matters regarding national revenue which were so much needed by the government in this pandemic. We shall stand to deal with the culprits regardless of who is involved,” Byekwaso cautioned.