Rwanda moves to auction vehicles carrying smuggled goods

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Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) has said it will be auctioning vehicles that enter 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 does not matter which country the vehicle is coming from as long as it has carried illegal goods into Rwanda. Rwanda says it is doing this under section 199 of the East African Community Customs Management Act, 2004.

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

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

All the countries under the EAC are struggling to deal with smuggling. However, forfeiting vehicles carrying smuggled goods is currently not a common practice among the East African Community partners but shows many could decide to go that way. Mr Ian Rumanyika, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) Corporate assistant Commissioner Public & Corporate Affairs, told this reporter that they currently fine the owner of vehicle carrying smuggled goods and release it.

“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.

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

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