Uganda Revenue Authority – URA has raised a red flag against smuggling
of goods in Elegu, the porous Uganda-South Sudan international border.
Elegu is one of Uganda’s five high volume border entry points
after Mutukula (Uganda – Tanzania), Malaba and Busia (Uganda-Kenya) and Mirama
Hills at Uganda’s boundary with neighbouring Rwanda.
Ivan Kakaire, the URA Regional Manager in charge of customs in
Elegu says that the commonly smuggled goods across the porous border include
fuel, powdered milk, sugar and rice among others.
Kakaire explains that while the border is well managed backed by
the natural barrier, River Unyama, some smugglers still use canoes to ship
contrabands through the water and have often intercepted them en-route to
neighbouring Gulu and Adjumani District.
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According to Kakaire, the tax body intercepts over 30 seizures every month on
average. However, he added that they have intensified public awareness creation
and use of a network of community informers to deter informal trade.
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During a meeting with stakeholders in Gulu City, John Musinguzi Rujoki, the URA
Commissioner-General said the authority is developing a tax education
prospectus to facilitate the education of taxpayers in the country.
Rujoki further proposed colouring of fuel on transit to East
African community member states for easy identification and interception once
smuggled, which he argues will help put an end to illicit trade across the
Amuru Resident District Commissioner Geoffrey Oceng Osborn, also the
Chairperson District Security Committee says that they identified nine porous
entry points in Elegu. He adds that security personnel have been deployed to man
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Jimmy Patrick Okema, the Aswa River
Region Police Spokesperson says several cases of drowning at Elegu Police
Station since the beginning of the year has been associated with illegal entry
and exit in Uganda. At least 10 people have drowned in River Unyama since April.
In April, 10 people and a Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) were arrested
and charged for allegedly using long-distance cargo truck drivers to smuggle
tonnes of illicit drugs into the country through Elegu.