Uganda Revenue Authority-URA has impounded contraband supermatch cigarettes worth Uganda Shillings 2.5 billion in taxes. The contraband cigarette was smuggled into Uganda from Kenya through Busia border over a period of six months.
According to URA, although the contraband is worth Shillings 2.5 billion in taxes, it has a resell value of Shillings 1.6 billion. The tax value is more compared to resell value because of stringent taxes to discourage importation of the cigarettes.
Vincent Sseruma, the URA spokesperson, says fifteen suspects are being held at different police stations in the country in connection to the contraband cigarettes. Key among the suspects is Francis Yeko, a city businessman who has been using young boys to smuggle the cigarettes through the porous border of Busia.
Sseruma explains that Yeko was picked up on Monday from his warehouse in Kisaasi where he has been storing the cigarettes before distributing it to traders.
“During our operation on Monday, we intercepted a Premio Motor vehicle which we suspected had smuggled cigarettes. We found more than 2800 barrows of supermatch,” Sseruma told Uganda Radio Network.
Adding that, “We used this vehicle to track the warehouse where they were taking the cigarettes.” Supermatch is one of the most smuggled commodities across the Kenya – Uganda boarder.
Manufactured in Kenya, Supermatch is the cheapest cigarette going for Shillings 100 on the local market with a tax of Shillings 55. With a tax of about 200% on the import price, the profit is very minimal hence the smuggling of the product.