Uganda Revenue Authority’s (URA) Customs Department has handed over to Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) a variety of items it intercepted from various smugglers dealing in wildlife products.
Mr Abel Kagumire, the URA Commissioner Customs Department said that the Authority handed over 7,421 kilogrammes of ivory, 766 kilogrammes of pangolin scales, 11.1 kilogrammes of hippo teeth, three python skins, a lion skin, 20 kilogrammes of buffalo horns, lion jaws and a python head among others.
He added that these products were handed over to UWA for safe custody before their final disposal in line with the applicable international laws and regulations.
“It is known worldwide that the wild fauna and flora in their many beautiful and varied forms are an irreplaceable part of the natural systems of the earth which must be protected for this and the generations to come. Based on the value of certain species, the inter-agency and international cooperation is essential in protecting them against over-exploitation through international trade,” Mr Kagumire said.
Speaking at the hand over event at URA offices in Kampala, the Commissioner said in a bid to strengthen their inter-agency coordination, a Joint Ports Control Unit (JPCU) was established by a cooperation framework signed in 2015, with the assistance from United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
This consists of Uganda Police Force, UWA and Customs, with its headquarters established at Nakawa URA offices in the year 2017.
Mr Kagumire said that the three agencies have together benefited from the joint capacity building exercises facilitated by United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the joint planning, joint interventions, and utilisation of the shared resources like office premises, computers and hand held scanners among others.
These were donated by the UNODC.