How URA intercepted woman at Entebbe Airport with 40 phones hidden around her hips

Kampala, (UG):- The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) in a significant move to combat continued smuggling practices has intercepted a female traveller arriving from Dubai, who had ingeniously concealed 40 smartphones around her hips and beneath multiple layers of clothing on her body.

Through an operation codenamed “Kwata Essimu,” URA said it acted on intelligence reports and tips from informants in Dubai regarding passengers’ attempts to evade enforcement and non-intrusive inspection (NII) scanners.

The tax collecting body said it had observed a trend where passengers were opting for Fly Dubai flights over Uganda Airlines and Ethiopian Airlines in a bid to circumvent scrutiny.

However, URA said it intensified surveillance measures on all inbound flights, employing techniques such as belt surveillance, NII cargo scanner scrutiny, thorough luggage inspections, and traveller interviews.

During the operation, URA’s enforcement team uncovered another smuggling tactic involving a false bottom in a box, for example, officers discovered a concealed compartment at the bottom of the box, containing 44 smartphones.

Simon Esunget, acting manager of URA customs at Entebbe International Airport, commended the collaborative efforts of URA teams, which led to the recovery of taxes amounting to Shs 1.7 billion in just 28 days – a record-breaking achievement.

“I briefed the airport security committee of our operations and enlisted their support, especially in sharing information. At a strategic level, we will continue efforts to enrol all airlines on the passenger data platform, which once implemented 100%, will ease targeting,” said Mr Esunget.

- Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading. -

Additionally, authorities discovered more inventive hiding spots for smuggled goods, including smartphones disguised as everyday items like perfume boxes, flowers, and shoes, and even embedded within clothing and motor vehicle spares. Some devices were cleverly concealed within electronic devices such as car radios.

“Another set of phones recovered included 8pcs of used iPhones, 76pcs of Sony Xperia; 124pcs of assorted refurbished Samsung Galaxy Phones (S8/S9/S9+/S10/S10+); 8pcs of New Note 30 Pro; 15pcs of used Aquos Shg03 Sense 1 smartphones; 50pcs of refurbished Aquos Shg03; and 40pcs of refurbished Vivo Ultra 24 smartphones,” URA said in a statement.

Sections 200 and 203 of the EACMMA state that an importer found to be in the act of concealing goods faces up to five years in prison or a fine equal to half of the dutiable worth of the items in question.

URA’s spokesperson, Ibrahim Bbossa, urged clients to comply with procedures that have been created to facilitate trade. He added URA is continuously evolving in technology and investing in automation of its processes to curb such vices to create a levelled marketplace for Ugandans.

- Advertisement. -

The successful interception of these smuggling attempts underscores URA’s commitment to combatting illicit activities and ensuring compliance with customs regulations.

Do you have a story or an opinion to share? Email us on: Or follow the Daily Express on or for the latest updates.


Daily Express is Uganda's number one source for breaking news, National news, policy analytical stories, e-buzz, sports, and general news.

We resent fake stories in all our published stories, and are driven by our tagline of being Accurate, Fast & Reliable.

Copyright © 2024 Daily Express Uganda. A Subsidiary of Rabiu Express Media Group Ltd.

To Top
Translate »