THE Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) has impounded a consignment of goods, including Indian sugar estimated at 400m/- that was smuggled into Tanzania through different unauthorised ports in Kilwa District, Lindi Region.
The Taxpayers’ Education Director with TRA, Mr Richard Kayombo, told journalists that the goods were impounded by the authority’s special anti-smuggling unit, known as ‘Fast Team’ in collaboration with the Police at an illegal port on Thursday night.
He revealed that the smuggled goods were found in three different compounds owned by businessman Yusuf Barakat Salahe at Tindi area, Njia Nne Village in Miteja Ward within Kilwa District. “The businessman has been arrested and has showed cooperation in the process of investigations.
Other legal actions will be taken after completion of the investigation,” the director said. Mr Kayombo named the impounded goods as 762 bags of Indian sugar of 50kg each produced by Shree TK Warana SSK Limited, and 134 bags of foreign sugar of 25kg each, allegedly manufactured in Brazil.
He further disclosed that the team also seized from the compounds 49 containers of cooking oils of 20 litres each marked Mico Gold and Turkey smuggled from Malaysia and Indonesia, respectively.
Also impounded, according to him, were 223 cartons of Tiger batteries from Guangzhou, China; 135 cartons of foreign baking powder and 48 cartons of soap, also smuggled in from outside Tanzania.
He said further that other items impounded as evidence showing illegal business in the sugar deal as two machines used to sow the bags of the smuggled sugar. The bags depicted brands of local companies such as Kilombero, TPC and Mtibwa Sugar companies.
Mr Kayombo mentioned other items as 2,000 empty new bags of sugar of 25kg each, 36,000 empty (but used) bags of sugar, and 1,150 other used bags bearing marks of local industries; 609 empty containers of 20 litres each of foreign cooking oils and 310 other empty containers of 10 litres each.
He pointed out that such empty items were being used for repacking the smuggled goods before being dispatched into the local market.
“We have intensified the operation and identified 11 illegal ports in this area used to smuggle the goods,” he said. The director named the illegal ports as Kulutu, Kiheli, Suel, Shuka, Mayungiyungi, Milamba, Mapimbi, Lilimalyao, Kisongo, Nakimwela and Nchinga.
He warned unscrupulous people to refrain from involving themselves in illegal businesses as no one this time around would be spared.
“We are determined to make sure that those involved will not escape the government’s long arm and subsequent prosecution. We call upon the citizens to cooperate with TRA to contain these malpractices, as they deny the government revenue,” he appealed.
In January this year, the TRA also impounded huge consignments of goods worth millions of shillings, being smuggled into the country at an illegal port in Kigombe area, Muheza District, Tanga region. The contraband was in three boats coming from Zanzibar.
Mr Kayombo was quoted as saying that the consignment comprised 150 bags of sugar from India, 250 bags of rice from Pakistan, 300 plastic containers of Oki cooking oil from Malaysia, 20 tyres and other assortments of goods.
He said some of the goods were destroyed in the process as the culprits on realising they were in hot soup, allowed sea water to enter the boats, destroying some of the goods.