Arusha — THE Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) has confiscated consignments of contraband goods, including 5,000 chicks, trays of eggs and forbidden drugs at the Namanga border in Longido District, Arusha Region. Among the goods that were impounded over the weekend include tonnes of sugar, salt, 18 bags of tea leaves, 5000 chicks and 416 trays of eggs.
The illegal consignment also included the outlawed chewable khat drugs. They were all being smuggled into Tanzania from Kenya through the infamous 'panya routes,' bored by criminals along the highly porous northern borderline stretch.
The Assistant Customs Manager at border, Mr Edwin Iwato, revealed that the goods belonged to three Tanzanian businessmen Mr Joseph Sekino, Innocent Minja and Andrew Lyimo.
The trio, according to the Customs Officer, has been arrested and will soon be arraigned. "We have arrested three traders. They are Mr Joseph Sekino, who was transporting sugar, salt and tea leaves in a truck number T-785 AWV; Mr Innocent Minja who was smuggling 416 trays of eggs as well as 16 kilogrammes of khat in the vehicle with plate number T-443 CQU and Mr Andrew Lyimo who was smuggling 5000 chicks in the car with registration number T-441 DHW," explained Mr Iwato.
All the three businessmen were travelling from Nairobi, Kenya, heading to Arusha with their contraband goods. They had packaged the sugar, salt and tea leaves in bags that bore trademarks of local Tanzanian companies such as Azam in their attempt to conceal the origin of the goods.
The traders lacked official documents for importation or tax clearance. The Director for Tax Payer Services and Education at the Tanzania Revenue Authority, Mr Richard Kayombo, said such traders were saboteurs to the economy as they not only avoided paying tax, but also crippled the growth of local businesses by using registered trademarks to sell alien products.
He stated that some of the confiscated items would be destroyed while those found to be safe for consumption would be donated to schools and other institutions for the needy, while the three vehicles in question would be impounded.