8 smugglers arrested as customs seizes 183 million birr worth of contrabands

Eight Arrested as Customs Seizes Contrabands valued at 183mln Birr

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopian Customs Commission (ECC) said its officers intercepted contraband goods and foreign currencies valued at 183.1 million Birr.

The contrabands were captured between Jan 20 and 26 through joint efforts with regional law enforcement agencies as well as the public, the ECC said in a statement on Saturday.

At least 8 suspects have been apprehended for engaging in smuggling acts, along with five vehicles that the smugglers used to transport the contraband items.

Minerals, petrol, clothes, coffee, electronics, cosmetics, weapons, Khat, cooking oil, medicines, and foreign currencies were among the major goods seized by customs officials.

The majority of them were intercepted while they were being smuggled into the country, said the Commission, estimating their total value at 144.9 million Birr.

The remaining 38.2 million birr worth of items was also captured before leaving the border.

Moyale, Bahir Dar, and Hawassa customs branches were able to intercept most of the contraband that crossed into the country. The three branches respectively seize contrabands worth 41.5m birr, 32.5m birr, and 28.3m birr.

Prevention needs Collaboration

Ethiopia has undertaken a mass sensitization campaign to combat contraband and the illicit flow of foreign currency that has been partly blamed for growing inflation.

Simultaneously, authorities said they are stepping up efforts to control contraband and other illegal practices affecting the economy.

The efforts have helped the government from losing more than 40.75 billion birr worth of revenues from tax evaders and smugglers in the last six months, the Ministry of Revenues Aynalem Nigussie told reporters last Tuesday.

More than 700 contraband smugglers have also been arrested, according to her report.

Despite these ongoing efforts, Aynalem noted that the illegal acts still persist and require a strong collaboration of every concerned body to put illicit trade and practices under control.