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Police net contraband goods worth Sh1.5milion in Busia

By Ignatius Odanga | Published Mon, September 3rd 2018 at 00:00, Updated September 2nd 2018 at 23:02 GMT +3
Sachet alcohol popularly known as Waragi parked in probox that police nabbed on Saturday in Busia. [Ignatius Odanga/Standard]

At least 130 bags of contraband sugar were seized by police officers over the weekend. 

At the same time, 90 cartons of alcohol packed in sachets known as ‘waragi’ manufactured in Uganda were nabbed in a probox between Busia-Korinda highway.

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The illegal sugar, which had been sneaked into the country from Uganda through porous borders by unscrupulous traders were confiscated in three different places.

In Busia sub-county police found 88 bags, Bumala 20, Nambale 22 bags in a crackdown against smuggling.

County Police Commander Wambua Katithi confirmed the incidents and estimated the value of the illegal sugar to be Sh900 million and sachet alcohol at Sh500, 000.

He further confirmed that only one suspect and three Probox were in custody and search for the owners of the sugar and the alcohol was ongoing.

“One suspect is in custody and three probox impounded. Other suspects managed to escape and we are looking for them for engaging in illegal business,” said Katithi.

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Impounding of the contraband goods comes hot on the heel of public outcry over smuggling menace in Busia. The residents had accused the police of doing little to tame the vice.

But the police boss revealed that police have heightened crackdown on smuggling. “The strategies we have put in place are already bearing fruits and we are committed to arresting more people who are smuggling,” said Katithi.

“The Government is losing a lot of revenue because smugglers do not pay tax, that must come to an end and we are determined to win the war against the vice,” he added.

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Police have also been accused of smuggling. It was alleged that the sugar that was seized in Bulanda belonged to a police officer.

No arrest was made when police seized the contraband sugar at a store in Uganda on Saturday night.  Speaking in Bulanda, Matayos MP Geofrey Odanga said claims that police were involving in smuggling activities cannot be wished away. 

“Such claims must be investigated because smuggling is hurting our economy, if it true a police officer had sneaked sugar in the country illegal then the law should follow its course,” he said while in Bulanda.

Mr Wambua admitted that he was aware of the claims from the public that the sugar found in Bulanda belonged to an officer but said he was yet to establish the truth.

In response the police said,” I have heard about the rumour but we have not established the truth in it.” The Smugglers have been blamed for the death of seven boda boda operators who were killed by speeding probox along Busia-Mundika road in the recent past. 

“The number plates of vehicles involved in smuggling are with us. We are aware that they drive their vehicles recklessly leading to accidents on our roads,” he maintained.

 

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