Experts back DPP on illicit trade, say law is needed
Posted Thursday, January 24 2013 at 00:00
Private sector experts want a law criminalising illicit trade and not just guidelines.
The Prosecutors Manual, a document containing guidelines on how to expeditiously prosecute people involved in illicit trade, has been backed by the tobacco market leader British American Tobacco Uganda (BATU).
The company whose profit margins were affected by the rise of illicit trade to unprecedented levels for the first time in many years wants the vice fought.
“Illicit trade rose from about 11-12 per cent the previous years to 30 per cent last year. And that significantly affected our margins,” the British American Tobacco Uganda (BATU) managing director, Jonathan D’ Souza, told Daily Monitor.
Mr D’ Souza says tobacco companies, will have no problem lending support to the DPP to combat illicit trade.
Illicit trade is one of the biggest threats to the tobacco industry. Industry records show that it is costing government more than Shs8 billion.
“Illicit trade has now even turned to leaf (unprocessed tobacco) and it is not just the cigarettes (processed product) that we should be worried of,” said the BATU managing director.
The smuggled cigarettes come from South Sudan followed by DRC and then Kenya.
The DPP Prosecutor’s Manual will ease law enforcers work like Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) and the police against the elusive illicit traders.
But Private Sector Foundation boss, Gideon Badagawa says: “We want a substantive law criminalising illicit trade and not just guidelines. This is why we are asking parliament to pass all the commercial laws.”