URA impounds 100 smuggled vehicles
KAMPALA- Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has impounded 101 vehicles that were smuggled into Uganda from the US, South Sudan and Kenya.
URA’s assistant Commissioner for Corporate Services, Mr Vincent Sseruma, said the impounded vehicles were smuggled into the country disguised as vehicles belonging to non-government organisations, diplomats or foreign visitors.
Mr Sseruma explained that 51 of the impounded vehicles were smuggled into the country by tax evaders or relatives of Ugandans working in foreign countries, whereas 28 were found with unauthorised drivers.
“Some people come here claiming they are visitors for about three months and therefore, their vehicles are not taxed. Some of these people have stayed beyond the specified period and we have impounded the vehicles so that the owners pay taxes,” Mr Sseruma said.
Mr Sseruma said URA has so far collected Shs100 million from owners of vehicles that had been sneaked to the country especially luxury Range Rover cars. He said the taxi body has collected Shs50 million from 18 vehicles found with unauthorised drivers.
Mr Abel Kagumire, URA’s Manager Enforcement Operations, said they have seized four containers of rice valued at Shs206 million, seven containers of acid batteries valued Shs210 million, 17 metric tonnes of micro wax from Alpha Wax Company in Netherlands valued Shs64.5 million, 1500pcs of tyres, and 160 tonnes of NPK fertilizers valued Shs677 million.
He said the owners fraudulently imported a consignment of NPK fertilizers from Van Iperen International in Netherlands by creating an email address similar to the legitimate buyer Whitchem Stores Uganda which they used to engage the supplier thus making him believe he was dealing with the genuine Whitchem Ltd, a UK company.
“This was how the original importation documents ended up landing into the hands of the fraudster. The preceding documents from Kenya all read Whitchem Stores Uganda. On arrival, the fraudster used a one Decenta Namaalwa, who registered with URA trading as Whitchem Stores in Uganda to claim the goods,” Mr Kagumire said.
Another fraudster identified as Anthony Johnson claiming to be from CJP Chemicals Pty Ltd in South Africa imported nine 12 x20ft containers of micro wax from Alpha Wax Netherlands. After learning about the fraudulent deal, the Netherlands Embassy complained to URA to recover the goods. URA responded and seized the containers which are being kept at Speedag Interfreight in Nakawa. However, the suspects are still at large.
Mr Sseruma added that similar tricks were used by Tropea Import and Export Corp Limited, which fraudulently imported acid batteries from Shuangdeng Group Co Ltd China.
On arrival, the consignment was cleared by Kasirye Freighters Limited and warehoused at Bolore Bond. The consignment owners did not pay the exporter but proceeded to acquire change of goods ownership from Tropea General Import and Export Corp Ltd to David Mitanda Bakalemeso.
“The exporter who flew in the country requested Interpol to prevent the clearance of goods. The matter was referred to intelligence for investigation to stop clearance of goods. URA recovered the goods and they are being kept at Bolore Bond. We are now looking for suspects,” Mr Sseruma said.
Qingdaoa, a Chinese tyre exporting company was also defrauded 1,500 tyres by fraudsters using the name of Tyre Express Valse Investments Uganda. The deal was struck by Joweria Nagujja and Solomon Waligo. When the goods arrived at Dar-Salaam Port, Tyre Express (U) Ltd was contacted by the supplier to receive the goods. But since they had not made any order, they suspected a fraudulent transaction and reported to URA. URA acted by stopping clearance of goods which were taken to the Customs Warehouse Nakawa as they wait for supplier to follow up the matter.