Luck eluded a female smuggler who tried to outsmart officials by carrying banned cosmetics in a dummy disguised as a child strapped on her back.
She was nabbed by the officials of the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) at Mpondwe border post in Kasese on Wednesday, reports say.
The suspect reportedly tried to cross to Uganda from DR Congo via a shallow point of River Rubiiha before she was found out.
“On face value, it’s a mother carrying a child on her back. In reality, it’s a smuggler bringing in carefully concealed banned cosmetics from D.R.Congo. The kind that contains the dangerous ingredients hydroquinone and mercury in them which are said to cause skin cancer,” URA said in a statement.
“Intel had been gathered about this mode of smuggling where women use the disguise of carrying babies on their backs to bring into Uganda contraband cosmetics. Protection of Ugandans from the consumption of harmful goods is one of the mandates of the customs department. We urge Ugandans to desist from the usage of harmful skin lightening cream,” URA added.
It is reported that despite strict punitive measures against the act, smuggling is still rampant in eastern Uganda, especially at the Busia and Malaba borders; Mpondwe and Kasese in south-western; southern-Mutukula; and Arua in West Nile, among others.
Some of the deterrent measures include arrest and prosecution, forfeiture of goods and vehicles used to transit the goods, and so on.
Cigarette, mobile phones, rice, wheat flour, and banned cosmetics containing harmful ingredients are some of the goods mostly smuggled.