Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda Revenue Authority-URA field service team has arrested a man identified as Davis Bakashabaruhanga who was allegedly found smuggling 200 high end ink pens, worth 300 million shillings.
Bakashabaruhanga, who donned full military attire was reportedly driving a truck registration number UAE 050F accompanied by a minivan registration number UAZ 637N, along Mukono-Kayunga road.
Both vehicles were full with merchandise.
Once stopped, Bakashabaruhanga confidently flashed a Uganda People’s Defense Forces-UPDF identity card which was later ascertained to be fake.
According to Julius Nkwasire, the Assistant Commissioner in charge of field services, the URA team immediately contacted their counterparts in the UPDF to report a soldier caught with smuggled goods.
The army refuted Bakashabaruhanga’s credentials, prompting his arrest.
Nkwasire revealed that interrogations of Bakashabaruhanga then led to the arrest of a one Emmanuel Kwesiga who is believed to part of the syndicated crime.
He added that investigations were still on-going and all the culprits will be presented in courts of law.
The UPDF spokesperson Brig. Flavia Byekwaso condemned acts of abusing the military uniform, saying this is a different offence by Bakashabaruhanga.
In her statement, 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, these are matters regarding national revenue which is much needed by the government in this pandemic,” Byekwaso cautioned. “We shall stand to deal with the culprits regardless of who is involved.”
Nkwasire noted that URA has enhanced customs intelligence and surveillance throughout the country to curb smuggling, emphasizing that all those involved should stand warned.
URA losses about 985 million shillings per day to smuggling.
In the just ended financial year, URA recovered 67.73 billion shillings from 5,823 seizures in operations according to Commissioner General John Rujoki Musinguzi.
But URA officials as well as police officers manning crossing points have severally been implicated by traders for aiding smuggling.
URA has put in place several measures to fight the vice, obliging the ongoing installation of Non-Intrusive Inspection -NII cargo scanners at border points.
Other measures include the electronic cargo tracking system, as well as the digital tax stamps.
According to URA, the cargo scanners have enhanced efficiency, with the customs department now able to inspect over 1,400 consignments daily at Malaba and Busia points.