ADDIS ABABA – More than 4.34 million Illicit cigarettes have been seized in a Yeka Sub-city of Addis Ababa in a joint operation involving Addis Ababa police, authorities say today.
The police carried out a raid on a house located in the Tourist Condominium area on Monday last week after a tip-off from a member of the public.
And they discovered 4.34 million pieces of illegal cigarettes stored in two warehouses, says the City’s Food, Medicine and Healthcare Administration and Control Authority in a statement.
The seized illicit items include 3.9 million and 440,000 pieces of ‘Shamlan’ and ‘Golden’ brand cigarettes, according to the authority.
The cigarettes, after entering the country illegally, were stored in the warehouses owned by an individual with a license to trade bean fodder.
The combined value of these cigarettes was estimated at over 21.7 million birr, reads the statement
Apart from the cigarettes, police also captured 5, 000 quintals of illegally stored sugar, and a truck used for transporting the illicit items.
Tobacco taxes are one of the tools authorities use for controlling tobacco consumption in the country where an estimated 2.2 million people smoke daily, and about 17 thousand die annually from tobacco-related diseases.
However, Some experts say the effectiveness of this tool is undermined by the presence of illicit cigarettes on the market, as these cigarettes are often sold for lower prices.