ADDIS ABABA – Five suspects were arrested as Customs officials seized contraband goods and foreign currencies worth over 71.5 million birr in the past week.
The Ethiopian Customs Commission in a report today said the majority of the illicit items were intercepted while they were smuggled out of the country.
The commission estimated their total value at 41.7 million birr.
The remaining nearly 33.7 million birr worth of goods were captured during attempts to smuggle them out of the nation.
Clothes, petrol, livestock, electronics, coffee, cosmetics, medicine, narcotic drugs, khat, vehicles, weapons and banknotes of several foreign countries are among the contraband items seized.
At least five suspected smugglers have also been arrested in the week-long operation against smuggling, says the Commission.
Customs branches at Dire Dawa and Hawassa were able to intercept the most, seizing contraband goods worth 12.9 million birr and 10.3 million birr, respectively.
Kombolcha Customs was also able to capture about 4.8 million birr worth of contraband goods, said the Commission.
The illegal items were seized as result of collaborative effort between officers at the customs branches and regional and federal police through searches at the branches and follow up based on public tip-offs.
These efforts need to increase in the fight against contraband trade and reduce its impact on the country’s economy, the customs officials said.
In the first three quarters of the current fiscal year, customs branches intercepted different kinds of contraband goods valued at 3.5 billion birr from smugglers.