URA impounds goods worth USD 30,000

Operation “Rolling Thunder” came to an end on Saturday, May 11th, 2024, with the seizure of phones, textile materials, garments, bedsheets, and rice valued at USD 29,949.84.

URA’s “Team One” launched the operation last Wednesday to rein in the smuggling of textiles and garments, and by the end of it, over 34,385 sq m of textiles, 700 sets of bedsheets, 8,276 pieces of garments, 1,360 pieces of fishing nets, 1,115 pieces of phones, and 3,475 kg of rice had been impounded.

URA Customs Supervisor, Armstrong Turyakira, revealed that the operation was initiated due to the rampant smuggling of garments, textiles, and rice into the country.

“Garments, textiles, and rice are the most smuggled items, and we worked on credible information using two alternate systems of day and night surveillance while occasionally manning checkpoints as well,” he explained.

The team divided themselves into two: as Team A manned the eastern route (Kampala-Mukono-Jinja Rd. and Kampala-Kayunga-Jinja Rd while Team B surveilled the southwestern route (Mubende-Mityana Rd.), impounding four vehicles in the process.

Turyakira added that the seized goods were physically verified before their owners were penalized.

“There is a perception amongst traders that textiles and garments fetch a lot of profits if smuggled instead of passing through the right channels, so they will pay taxes, penalties, and fines for smuggling,” he said.

The URA Customs Supervisor also disclosed that when they carry out a system analysis and find out that a particular item, previously declared, is abruptly seldom declared, and yet those items are still flooding the market, it is an indication of smuggling.

Turyakira urges traders to use designated points of entry to avoid the harsh penalties and fines related to smuggling, saying that Team One is on standby to catch the incoming culprits.

By Kamugisha Kabahweza Allan

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