Dozens Arrested as Customs Seize Contrabands worth 141.7mln Birr

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopian Customs on Saturday said it has seized more than 141.7 million birr worth of contraband goods and foreign currencies in a week-long operation.

In a statement, the Ethiopian Customs Commission (ECC) said the contrabands were captured between Nov 4 and 10 through joint efforts of the federal customs, and regional law enforcement agencies.

At least 25 suspects have been detained for allegedly attempting to smuggle contraband across the country’s border, the statement added

In addition, nine vehicles that the smugglers used to transport the contraband items have also been captured, the Commission said.

Livestock, petrol, clothes, coffee, electronics, cosmetics, weapons, Khat, edible oil, medicines, narcotic drugs, and foreign currencies dominated the list of items seized by customs officials.

The majority of them were intercepted while they were crossing into the country. Officials estimated their value at 92.6 million birr.

The remaining 49.1 million birr worth of items were also prevented from leaving the nation.

Among ECC’s branches, Jigjiga, Dire Dawa and Hawassa customs posts were able to intercept the most, with the three branches seizing items worth 21.5m birr, 14.95m birr, and 14.24m birr, respectively.

Ethiopia has undertaken a mass sensitization campaign to combat contraband and illicit flow of foreign currency transactions that have been partly blamed for growing inflation.

“Customs’ ongoing fight against contraband alone is not enough due to its ever-changing nature and negative impact on the economy,” said the ECC, urging all actors including the public to increase support for the fight against contraband.

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