Entebbe | RedPepper Digital – Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) operatives at Entebbe Airport last Thursday impounded cargo containing 50kgs of gold that was being smuggled to Dubai without paying taxes.
According to sources at Entebbe Airport, the gold had been smuggled from DR Congo by some businessmen who were clearing it for a Dubai bound flight.
Sources privy to this matter reveal that preliminary investigations indicate that the consignment has since been linked to city businessman Ibrahim Ssesanga, who is said to be an agent of the smuggling racquet.
This comes after the gold was linked to Ssesanga, under a logistics company registered in Kenya known as Primepile Logistics.
Operatives from URA investigating this case of tax evasion suspect that Ssesanga had smuggled the gold from Congo, and was taking it to Dubai, through Uganda.
However, authorities at the airport said that they discovered the gold concealed in a black logistics box, with a seal number 00686698.
But when they tried to trace the said Ssesanga such that he could produce the necessary tax clearance papers for the consignment be was nowhere to be seen, something that raised an alarm, hence the seizure and subsequent inquest into the origin of the gold, which led investigators to the conclusion that the source of origin is Congo.
It should however be noted that URA loses over UGX400Bn annually through gold smuggling in Uganda.
Statistics from Uganda’s tax authority revealed that in 2019, the country exported gold worth USD$1.3Bn compared to the USD$549m exported the previous year and yet over a fifth of the population still lives below the national poverty line, according to the World Bank.
Although gold is Uganda’s largest export product by value according to URA, the government refuses to publicly divulge how much the region’s largest gold refinery, Africa Gold Refinery (AGR) that exports 75% of this precious metal is paying in taxes, a window that has been used by dealers and minors to evade taxes.