Kampala. Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has partnered with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and other government agencies to launch a Container Control Programme (CCP) meant to combat illicit trade.
Speaking at the agreement signing in Kampala last week, URA Commissioner General Doris Akol said, together with Uganda Police Force and Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), the programme seeks to eliminate shipping containers exploited by criminals to transport wildlife commodities and illegal drugs.
“This collaboration between security and enforcement agencies will help build capacity in fighting organised crime which is done through sophisticated networks,” said Ms Akol.
She said Uganda is being used as a conduit route of smuggled ivory and rhino horns, adding that URA and the police currently have about 20 tonnes of ivory confiscated at various border points.
Goods will be monitored using CCP equipment to scan for illegal items.
“Timber should also not be considered as an innocent export while on international transit since it can be exploited by criminals to hide illegal commodities,” Ms Akol cautioned.
At the same event, UWA executive director Andrew Seguya said the project will also counter crime such as illicit trafficking in wildlife and wildlife products as well as poaching.
Noting the weakness in Wildlife law, Dr Seguya said: “This partnership needs to be strengthened in other areas as well, such as investigation, intelligence and prosecutions. Many times we have impounded ivory but have failed to bring the kingpins to court.”
He added that the programme handles transnational and organised crimes that also include narcotics and firearms.
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Regional Representative Jose Villa Del Castro said : “At the heart of CCP is the establishment of multi-agency joint point control programme to tackle and detect shipments of illegal goods.”
Since its inception in 2004, the Container Control Programme has established more than 40 control units in 28 countries, leading to significantly increased detections and confiscations of drugs and other illicit goods.