Rwanda moves to auction vehicles carrying smuggled goods

The Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) has said it will auction vehicles entering Rwanda carrying smuggled or illegal goods.

The Rwanda Revenue Authority boss Pascal Ruganintwali said “all vehicles or other means of transport used to carry smuggled or illegal goods will be forfeited along with the goods.”

It doesn’t matter which country the vehicle comes from as long as it has brought illegal goods to Rwanda. Rwanda  says it does this under section 199 of the Customs Management Act of the East African Community, 2004.

“Both the goods and involved vehicles will be auctioned in accordance with the relevant laws,” said Mr Ruganintwali in a statement.

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The vehicle’s driver will be fined $5,000 (Shs18.5 m). Rwanda says the vehicle’s owner and driver will be sued for  smuggling.

All EAC countries are struggling to deal with smuggling. Forfeiting vehicles carrying smuggled goods, however, is  currently not a common practice among the partners of the East African Community, but it shows that many might decide to go that way.

Mr Ian Rumanyika, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) Corporate Assistant Commissioner for Public & Corporate  Affairs, told the reporter that they are currently fining and releasing the owner of a vehicle carrying smuggled goods.

“If the goods in the vehicle are dutiable, they are assessed and owner asked to pay. The goods are released after paying the taxes and the vehicle owner is also asked to pay a fine,” he said.

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Mr Rumanyika said that they forfeit both goods and vehicles carrying them to Uganda only after owners fail to pay  the fine and taxes.

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