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URA Nets Notorious Smuggler & Supplier Of Bleaching Creams

Black is beautiful and Beyoncé a renowned music star, will be remembered for her song with Blue Ivy where they encouraged Brown skin girls to love their melanin popping pearly skins. However, some ladies do not agree with this notion and for others, they’ve taken to altering their skin tone as a trauma copping mechanism.

A lady, whom we shall call Brenda took to bleaching her skin because growing up they always bullied her for being “black”. She started with coarse methods of washing her body using detergent and bleaching cleaning agents, then resorted to the cremes such as Cocopulp. Although her tone did not even out, she took more pictures of herself and posted more on her social media platforms because she felt more confident and loved her new look.

Despite this gratification from such cosmetics, URA continues to carryout operations that counter importation of these creams because majority of them contain mercury and hydroquinone which contain carcinogens that cause skin cancer in the human body. Customs has therefore set out to not only protect the economy but also ensure consumption of standardized and healthy products by the citizens.

As a result, The URA Hoima Enforcement team recovered 240 cartons of creams and lotions from a notorious cosmetics smuggler in Kikuube district.

Ahead of the boat from DRC docking at one of the landing sites on Lake Albert, the enforcement officers decided to take cover in a bar. They mingled into the bar crowd but stuck to being teetotalers in order to steadily reign in on the economic saboteur in the night.

The waiting games ensued and true to the informer’s words, the boat was sighted on the calm waters in the night ready to dock. A tipper lorry Reg No. UBM 507P set off for the landing site at 1:00am to collect the loot in preparation for dispatch to waiting clients. The enforcement team lay low like envelopes as they watched the off-loading and loading of the sacks of cosmetics onto the truck.

The truck was nabbed as it made its way into Kyangwali refugee camp and the car was driven to Hoima office. Upon verification, 240 cartons of creams and lotions were uncovered with 1 carton of baby powder. Of these, 112 cartons were creams with hydroquinone. Common brands in the pile included beaution lotion, Pawpaw lotion, Cocopulp, Carolight, Clairemen, Princess Claire lotion, Elegance Rico crème, Bio Plus carrot lotion, Miki Claire lotion, Diana lotion, Day by Day cream, Epiderm crème, Betasol lotion, Coco White, Rico Claire, and Pretty White, to mention but a few.

URA records show that smuggling of illegal cosmetics is common in the areas around Lake Albert, Mpondwe, Hoima, Congo, Bunagana and Butogota.

The East African Community Customs Management Act (EACCMA) 2004 as amended prescribes a penalty of 50% of the value of goods or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years or both for those caught in violation of the law. All those found culpable according to the Act are also liable to a fine not exceeding USD 7,000 and their goods confiscated.

URA urges the Public to desist from importing or consuming such harmful products as stipulated in the EACCMA. In due time, the confiscated goods will be destroyed at the owners’ cost and the trucks will be penalized once investigations are completed.

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