URA Impounds Koboko Ambulance With Smuggled Cigarettes

The enforcement team of the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) stationed at the Pakwach checkpoint recently seized an ambulance belonging to the Local Government of Koboko district. The ambulance was intercepted while transporting smuggled cigarettes.

The apprehended vehicle, a Toyota Land Cruiser with the registration number UBD 512X, was being driven by Nobert Abukuwa. It was confiscated along with 16 sacks of Super-Match cigarettes, seized around 3:00 a.m. on Sunday in Pakwach district.

Sylvester Kiwanuka, the Uganda Revenue Authority Customs manager for the Northern region, confirmed the incident and mentioned that both the driver and the impounded vehicle have been transferred to Kampala. They are expected to appear in court for legal proceedings.

Kiwanuka stated, “It’s true; our officers intercepted the ambulance in Pakwach. The driver and the vehicle are now in Nakawa.” Preliminary investigations indicate that the ambulance, which had originated from Koboko Town, was en route to Gulu to deliver the illicit goods.

It is alleged that the driver colluded with a soldier attached to Koboko Barracks (whose identity is withheld for security reasons) to facilitate the transportation of the contraband to Gulu.

Mambo Ashraf, the Koboko district LC V Chairperson, condemned the driver’s actions, accusing him of using the vehicle without obtaining permission from the medical superintendent of Koboko Hospital. Ashraf has instructed the Chief Administrative Officer, John Bosco Akera, to initiate disciplinary action against the driver.

Michael Ajule, the North Division councilor, revealed that the impounded ambulance had been donated to the district by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for responding to refugee health emergencies and referrals. He pointed out that this is the second instance of ambulances donated to the district for service delivery being misused.

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Juma Mawa, Dranya Sub-County councilor, disclosed that the council has called for comprehensive investigations into the matter to prevent such incidents from happening in the future.

For decades, the West Nile region has been a hotspot for smuggling activities, attributed to the numerous porous border entry points. According to information from the Uganda Revenue Authority, Uganda incurs an estimated annual loss of 5 billion Shillings due to smuggling.

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