Tax collecting body Uganda Revenue Authority and Interpol have through an operation code named ‘Clean Up Uganda’ impounded more than 70 vehicles worth Shs 1.7 bn.
This was revealed by URA Assistant Commissioner in charge of enforcement James Kisaale while addressing journalists on Wednesday at the tax body headquarters in Nakawa.
“We had observed an increase in the number of foreign registered vehicles especially from DRC following a ban on the importation of vehicles of more than 10 years .It had also come to our notice that there were many vehicles in the country in illegal means having breached regulations for temporary importation of foreign registered vehicles, malady troche http://coparmex.org.mx/wp-content/plugins/jetpack/sync/class.jetpack-sync-module-protect.php ” Kisaale told journalists.
According to the URA enforcement officer, information pills the week- long operation from December 16 to 21, healing 2014 more than 70 vehicles 46 of which were classified high performance and mainly station wagons were impounded bearing Democratic Republic of Congo number plates illegally.
“The vehicles worth Shs1.7bn were impounded and these included Toyota Land Cruisers, RAV4s, Mercedes Benz cars, Range Rovers and BMWs that had DRC number plates though they had never been registered there.”
Kisaale however explained that 32 of these were verified and found compliant as they had been legally registered in DRC and were also legally in Uganda but 47 vehicles worth Shs1Bn had presented false documents.
“Some of these including Mercedes Benz and Audi were reported to have been stolen according to the Interpol data base and therefore through this operation, URA is going to recover Shs1Bn in taxes and penalties,” the URA enforcement officer added.
Kisaale further explained that most of the vehicles enter the country through the porous borders whereas others go through the right procedure but end up staying in the country illegally.
“Some of the people using these vehicles were in breach of the regulations governing the temporary importation of foreign registered vehicles that require for an imported vehicle to stay for only one month renewable for 2 more months.”
Impounded Cars Pose Terror Threat
According to the Deputy Director Interpol, Elly Womanya cars bearing foreign number plates pose a terror risk as they could be used wrong elements who in the end might cause havoc in the country.
“Some of the explosives used during the 2010 Lugogo bomb attacks were transported using cars bearing foreign number plates therefore if we such cars increasing in the country, we have to join URA because we have to act swiftly before it turns to worst,” Womanya explained.
According to the Deputy Director Interpol, there is a well established data base used to verify all vehicles and once any query is detected, they act swiftly with their counterparts throughout the world.
“In Tanzania over 20 vehicles were impounded after being stolen here and will soon be brought back whereas other cars were intercepted here from Kenya on their way to DRC.”
URA Warns Public
According to the tax body enforcement officer, foreign registered vehicles must always report to the gazetted customs border points before being cleared by officials and the drivers must possess valid passports, log books, driving permits and customs documents for the vehicles from the countries of origin.
“A foreign registered vehicle should only be driven by the authorized person as per the customs documents and after 90 days it must leave the country or pay customs duties. Over stayed vehicles are given a penalty of 20% the value of the car,” Kisaale added.
“For the next 12 months we are going to continue focusing on all illegally imported vehicles from all countries to ensure all foreign registered vehicles comply with customs regulations.”