Uganda ponders buying container scanners


East African Business Week

Date Published
The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has asked Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) to install container scanners at all border posts and help limit trafficking in illegal wildlife products.

Dr. Andrew Sseguya, the UWA ED told a training workshop to increase the expertise of law enforcement officers in Kampala that the absence has created a loophole for traffickers.

“The traffickers have changed tactics now. They carry ivory and label it as Shea butter. Recently, ivory was seized in Mombasa, but it was labeled as vegetables which is perishable,” Sseguya said.

Sseguya counter measures go beyond individual country borders. “To crash a network, you have to create a network. I think this training will help us create a network to fight the traffickers,” Sseguya said.

When contacted, Richard Kamajugo, the URA Commissioner for Customs said they have already secured two container scanners worth $6 million set for Malaba and Busia border posts.

“We’re now waiting for the total completion of the posts, such that the dust can go away. We hope to install a scanner at each of the two posts when they have been completed,” Kamajugo said.

He asked UWA to contribute towards the acquisition of a container scanner at Entebbe International Airport.

Sseguya said the four major crimes of drug trafficking, trafficking in arms, human trafficking and wildlife trafficking are multi-billion dollar businesses whose tackling require tough laws.

“For wildlife trafficking, we’re revising the national anti-trafficking law where we shall confiscate the ivory, vehicle, warehouse and the persons involved in trafficking,” Sseguya said.

James Isiche, the Regional Director, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) East Africa said , “Elephant ivory, rhino horn, reptile skins, pangolin scales and leopard skins are amongst the most trafficked illegally traded wildlife products in the region.”