Ethiopian customs seize Contrabands valued at 195.8mln Birr

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopian Customs officials seized more than 195.8 million Birr worth contraband goods and foreign currencies in a week-long operation against smugglers.

The contrabands were captured between Feb 27 and March 2, in operations conducted jontly with federal and regional security agencies, the Ethiopian Customs Commission (ECC) said on Saturday.

The operations also saw at least 9 suspected smugglers and nine vehicles used to transport the contrabands apprehended.

The list of seized contraband items also include clothes, petrol, coffee, electronics, cosmetics, weapons, Khat, drugs, cooking oil, medicines, and various banknotes of Foreign countries.

The ECC said most of the illicit goods were intercepted while they were crossing into Ethiopia, estimating their total value at 129 million Birr.

The remaining contrabands worth 66.8 million birr were also intercepted before leaving the border.

ECC’s Moyale, Hawassa and Awash customs branches captured most of the illegal items entering the country, respectively seizing 23.5m birr, 19.2m birr, and 15.9m birr worth of contrabands.

The seizures, were made on the week authorities launched a year-long mass sensitization push named a ‘tax and customs laws compliance national compliance campaign.’

The campaign, prepared by the Ministry of Revenues (MoR) and the Ethiopian Customs Commission, is expected to complement authorities ongoing efforts to clampdown contraband trade and tax evasion.

The efforts helped the government from losing more than 40.75 billion birr worth of revenues from tax evaders and smugglers in the first half of the 2022/23 fiscal year, as per the MoR.

More than 700 contraband smugglers have also been arrested in the same period.

Despite encouraging results, these illicit trade acts remain a challenge and addressing these issues requires a strong collaboration of every concerned body, Revenues Minister Aynalem Nigussie noted during a press briefing last month.

(Featured Image FILE)

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