The New Times (Kigali)

22 November 2012

Rwanda: RRA Seizes 70 Cartons of Smuggled Alcohol

Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) has impounded 72 boxes of liquor known as African Jin worth Rwf1 million bearing forged tax stamps in Nyabugogo, a Kigali City suburb.

This was during a stepped up campaign to enforce the recent ministerial order No009/10 of 20/08 determining and establishing consumption tax on some imported and locally manufactured products.

The ongoing crackdown by the tax body began with Nyabugogo and continues in other areas of the country.

In an interview with Robert Mugabe, the Director for Revenue Protection Department at RRA, he confirmed the incident saying they discovered two shops in Nyabugogo area with boxes of alcohol bearing forged tax stamps.

Mugabe warned that RRA would not tolerate any malpractice by errant taxpayers, especially by forging tax stamps, and smuggling un-authorised wines and liquors into the country.

"We know that there are a group of unscrupulous traders who forge tax stamps, but RRA is determined to fight against such practices that are aimed at evading taxes," he warned.

The suspects, whose names were withheld, said they bought 70 boxes of African Jin bearing forged tax stamps on Tuesday from a regular supplier who imports wines and liquors from Uganda and supplies.

One female suspect said that they never noticed that the tax stamps were forged as they could not differentiate genuine tax stamps from the forged ones.

She, subsequently denied any involvement in the act, but admitted to buying the goods in question without the seller issuing a tax receipt, a fact that made her a liable suspect by the tax body.

"I paid cash for the impounded goods, but out of ignorance, never asked for a tax receipt," she lamented.

Another suspect, also a trader in Nyabugogo who was found selling wines bearing forged tax stamps admitted that he bought five boxes, but had already sold three when the tax body netted him.

Police and RRA said investigations were underway to ascertain those responsible for the forgery of the tax stamps.

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