By Our Reporter
A joint operation involving the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) and the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has intercepted at least 50 kilograms of smuggled gold bars at Entebbe Airport headed to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The gold is said to belong to a one Ibrahim Ssesanga. Our Entebbe Airport source says that through Platinum Minerals, a Kenya based shipping agency and together with the help of John Bosco Kalebe, a customs officer, Ssesanga intended to smuggle the gold through Nairobi.
According to a shipping document on a Platinum Minerals letterhead that our snoops have seen, a consignment for export dated May 27, 2022 was to originate from Uganda – also the country of export – to transit through Nairobi.On the same document, the gold recipient is listed as Marjan Bullion, Impex Traders F.Z.E located at Ajman Free Zone in Ajman, UAE.
“These guys had not paid a cent in taxes on the gold in question; which was to cost the government of Uganda a lot in lost revenues,” added our source.
A kilo of gold for export is valued at about US$57,000 (UGX 215 million); which would put the value of Ssesanga’s consignment at US$2.85 million (UGX10.75 billion)We understand that to be let off the hook, Ssesanga and his partners in crime have been ordered to pay US$65,000 in fines.
Should they fail to do so, their case will be escalated to the courts of law and/or the gold confiscated.Entebbe Airport has been listed as a notorious transit route for gold smuggled as hand luggage before.
A 2017 report by the Financial Intelligence Authority (UIA) indicated that gold from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was being rebranded in Uganda and exported as Ugandan gold mostly to the UAE.