An officer attached to Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has been arrested for shooting and causing the death of a suspected smuggler in Rakai district.
The tax body said the incident happened on Friday, September 2, 2022, at around 4am when a URA enforcement team based in Masaka got information about the suspected smuggling of cosmetics from Tanzania.
They mounted an interception on the Rakai route where they came face-to-face with a Toyota Premio registration number UBA671F.
Frank Kakuba, the suspected smuggler driving the vehicle, was flagged to stop but did not.
The team pursued him to Rakai, Lumbugu, and shot to deflate the car tyres to force him to stop, unfortunately injuring him in the process.
He was rushed to hospital where he later succumbed to injuries.
“URA regrets to announce the unfortunate demise of a suspected smuggler in Rakai. URA condemns the shooting of civilians in the strongest terms. We beseech the public to desist from any form of smuggling and illicit trade,” said Ibrahim Kibuuka Bbosa, the Assistant Commissioner Public and Corporate Affairs.
He added: “It is regrettable to lose a Ugandan in this manner. URA doesn’t condone the shooting of civilians even smugglers. Our officers must adhere to a strict code of conduct in such operations by using intelligence-guided and covert means to identify, track and apprehend suspects for prosecution. Any officer acting contrary to the URA values and behaviour will be held individually liable in accordance with the law.”
According to Bbosa, URA is collaborating with the police to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of Kakuba.
He said the officer involved has been arrested and is now a subject of investigation and prosecution.
Upon verification, it was discovered that the Toyota Premio was carrying 80 boxes of banner cancer-causing cosmetics declared harmful and illegal under the law.
The East African Community Customs Management Act (EACCMA) prescribes a penalty of 50% of the value of goods or imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or both for those caught violating the law.
All those found culpable according to the act will be liable to a fine not exceeding seven thousand dollars and have their goods forfeited.