Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) enforcement team on Wednesday arrested a notorious cigerette smuggler, Yeko Francis.
Two of the vehicles that the cartel uses for operations were also impounded, recovering Hundreds of smuggled cigerette bombas from the cartel’s den in Kisaasi.
Following a tip off from their intelligence officers, the tax body on April 8 intercept a brand new Toyota Premio at Kalerwe, a Kampala suburb along the Gayaza road and this would later lead them to busting of a racket involving three billion shillings worth of cigarettes.
The URA says between January and April 2018, the enforcement teams at Busitema , Mbale , Busia , Malaba, Oraba , Jinja , Iganga, Kampala and Fort Portal have collectively impounded 84,250 bombas of especially Supermatch cigarettes from neighbouring Kenya whose tax value is Ugx. 4,633,750,000/-
Cigerettes are mostly smuggled from Kenya and South Sudan through the porous border points of Busia , Malaba, Amudat, Oraba and Moyo. The most smuggled brand is supermatch made in Kenya.
Meanwhile, Senior URA officials are in the spotlight for allegedly colluding with four companies to evade taxes worth billions of shillings. The officials reportedly belong to the URA Tax Investigations Department (TID), who are accused of abetting tax evasion by four companies; Kampala Properties Limited, Crane Enterprises Limited, East Africa Motor Supplies Limited, and Auto Tune Engineering Limited, which are all owned by one person, one Mr Salim Punjani, a British national.
The accusations are contained in an April 6, 2018 letter to URA Commissioner General Doris Akol by a whistle-blower who says the TID repeatedly ignored his calls for an investigation into the tax evasion allegations.
“On several occasions, I requested for issuance of the Tax Information Forms (TIFs) from the Public Corporate Affairs (PCA), but Alex Niwagira made it hard for me to receive my TIFs for Crane Enterprises Limited and Kampala Properties Limited and it had to take more than two years to receive them even after giving substantial evidence,” the letter reads in part.