Yesterday at 4:00 am, the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) enforcement team based in Masaka got information about the suspected smuggling of cosmetics from Tanzania. They mounted an interception on the Rakai route, where they came face-to-face with a Toyota Premio registration number UBA 671F.
Frank Kakuba, the suspected smuggler driving in the vehicle, was flagged to stop but did not. The team pursued him to Rakai, Lumbugu, and shot to deflate the car tyres to force him to stop, unfortunately injuring him in the process. He was rushed to hospital, where he later succumbed to injuries and died.
Ibrahim Kibuuka Bbossa, the URA Assistant Commissioner Public and Corporate Affairs said that it is regrettable to lose a Ugandan in this manner.
Bbossa said: “URA does not condone the shooting of civilians, even smugglers. Our officers must adhere to a strict code of conduct in such operations by using intelligence-guided and covert means to identify, track and apprehend suspects for prosecution. Any officer acting contrary to the URA values and behaviour will be held individually liable in accordance with the law.”
He added: “URA commiserates with the deceased’s family and is collaborating with the police to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of Frank Kakuba. The officer involved has been arrested and a subject of investigation and prosecution.”
Upon verification, it was discovered that the Toyota Premio was carrying 80 boxes of banned cancer-causing cosmetics declared harmful and illegal under the law.
The East African Community Customs Management Act (EACCMA) prescribes a penalty of 50% of the value of goods or imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or both for those caught violating the law. All those found culpable according to the Act will be liable to a fine not exceeding seven thousand dollars and have their goods forfeited.
“We advise members of the public to desist from such illegal and dangerous ventures!” Bbossa said.