TRA impounds 386 barrels of spirit contraband

16Mar 2019
The Guardian
TRA impounds 386 barrels of spirit contraband

CUSTOMS officials with the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) at Sirari in Tarime district, Mara region, have impounded 96,500 litres of the principal ingredient for the manufacture of alcoholic spirits being smuggled to neighbouring Kenya.

Sirari customs manager Martin Kawonga told reporters here yesterday that the raw material for alcohol production was contained in 386 barrels with an estimated value of 246,600, 000/-

The first consignment of 336 barrels with 84, 000 litres was impounded late last year and the second one of 50 barrels containing 12,500 litres was seized yesterday morning.

Both consignments belong to one suspect named Thomas Makara who TRA accuses of engaging in smuggling of goods between Tanzania and Kenya through Sirari, not paying due taxes.

He said the barrels were hidden beneath 165 bags of lime, 18 mattresses, eight sacks of animal feed and 20 bags of detergent soap and the goods were being ferried across the border to Kenya without a permit from TRA.

 In yesterday’s operation, the tax enforcers arrested suspect Makara who hails from Isibania on the Kenyan side of the border, an extension of Sirari with the name change to Isibania.

The contraband was being ferried using a lorry with a Tanzanian registration number belonging to one Nassoro Mrimi, a resident of Sirari. But its driver took to his heels and disappeared upon seeing the tax enforcers, the official narrated.

The suspect will be arraigned at the Tarime district court upon completion of investigations by the tax enforcers in collaboration with police officers from Sirari police station.

Yesterday’s arrest of the suspect was made possible by a tip-off from the public and collaboration with police officers. Kawonga commended the residents who gave information and appealed for further cooperation to end smuggling which denies the country millions if not billions of shillings in unpaid taxes.