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Interpol Impounds UGX 3.7b Cars Stolen from UK, South Africa

The vehicles include four Range Rover Sport each valued at 500 million Shillings, as well as several discovery vehicles, are Totota Hilux pickups estimated to cost between 200 and 350 million Shillings. All the vehicles, at both Interpol and URA, were manufactured between 2017 and 2020 and were shipped to Uganda from Dubai, where they were taken after being stolen.
Stolen cars parked at Interpol in Kololo

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At least 20 Luxurious vehicles valued at more than  3.7 billion Shillings have been impounded by the Uganda National Central Bureau also known as Interpol –Uganda. The vehicles were reportedly stolen from the United Kingdom, Japan and the Republic of South Africa.

The vehicles include four Range Rover Sport each valued at 500 million Shillings, as well as several discovery vehicles, are Totota Hilux pickups estimated to cost between 200 and 350 million Shillings. All the vehicles, at both Interpol and URA, were manufactured between 2017 and 2020 and were shipped to Uganda from Dubai, where they were taken after being stolen.

Joseph Obwana, the Deputy Director of Interpol, said some of the vehicles were impounded during the recent joint operations targeting smuggled goods. They are now parked at the Interpol offices in Kololo and at the Uganda Revenue Authority-URA offices in Nakawa.

“These vehicles had already been purchased by Ugandans. That is why we are asking Ugandans to always question how they are brought here. Come to Interpol and crosscheck before you lose your money. Some are just bought and once they are brought here for verification they test positive,”  Obwana said.

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Five years ago, British detectives, who were tracing a Lexus stolen from London located it in Uganda alongside a fleet of British cars worth more than 1 million British pounds.

The vehicle a Lexus RX450h valued at 50,000 Pounds was fitted with a state-of-the-art tracking device which activated when it was taken from west London. Its journey was traced across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, through a smartphone app until it was found in Kampala, where another  28 other cars were found, exposing an international car theft ring.

The vehicles which were subsequently returned to the UK included Range Rovers, Audi Q7s and BMW X5s. According to Obwana, the authorities in Kampala are now working with the Asset Protection Unit, the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service and Interpol, to ensure that the vehicles are returned to the owners, a process which he says takes a while to complete.

Obwana was speaking to Uganda Radio Network –URN after a media address by Interpol Director Charles Birungi on overwhelming numbers of applicants seeking Certificate of Good Conduct, forgeries done by unscrupulous people as well as conmen targeting applicants in a rush.

Birungi said some conmen are charging people over 300,000 Shillings yet the known fee is 76,000. Birungi said they are handling more than 500 people every day which sometimes causes delays and impatient people end up falling into the hands of fraudsters.

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A Certificate of Good Conduct is a document produced by combining data with forensic on terms of criminal records and Interpol data on international criminal records. It is most wanted when one is seeking employment in international organisations, Visa, work permit, abroad jobs or admission in internal universities.

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