17th Virtual NCP RILO ESA annual administrative meeting

16 noviembre 2020

The 17th Annual Administrative Meeting of the National Contact Point (NCP) for the World Customs Organization (WCO) Regional Intelligence Liaison Office (RILO) Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) was successfully held virtually on 23 October 2020 with 19 Member states represented.

In his welcome remarks, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) Commissioner for Customs & Excise, Mr Happias Kuzvinzwa expressed his gratitude on the high resolve to find ways to engage and share experiences exhibited by the NCPs.

WCO ESA Region Vice-Chair and Commissioner Customs & Excise BURS, Mr Philiso Valashia, highlighted the importance of RILO in intelligence sharing and information exchange. He further lauded the launch of the WCO RILO ESA Website [www.wcoesarilo.org] and encouraged members to effectively utilize the website and contribute articles.

The WCO CEN Programme Manager commended RILO ESA for successfully holding their second NCP Meeting after taking over.

Ms Storme Viljoen from SADC TWIX hailed the role the RILO ESA plays in the preservation of wildlife and encouraged all members to capture the data on their seizures accordingly.

Mr L. Liza, Director ROCB and the HRMC Team from British High Commissioner also addressed the participants of the meeting.

The Head of RILO ESA, Mr Sitheni M Ncube in his presentation of the WCO RILO ESA 2020 Annual Report, mentioned that South Africa continued to lead the Region in using the Customs Enforcement Network. Uganda, Zimbabwe and Botswana recorded some increases in the use of CEN while Angola recorded a reduction.

The Report further highlighted that seizures on Tax & Duty Evasion had overtaken seizures on Drugs, which topped 2018/19 list at 973, while tobacco was third up from 5th position in the 2018/19 list.
1019 contraband was detected through Random Selection followed by Routine Control, Intelligence (Tip Offs) and Risk Profiling.

Significant seizures for the period under review were 13.5 kgs of heroin and 6.8 kgs of cocaine seized in South Africa. Zimbabwe recorded the seizure of 4.3 tonnes of cannabis. Uganda recorded USD 27,220,830 on Tax and Duty evasion and USD 2,469,508 on tobacco.

Cannabis coated with a layer of soap and moulded into soap tablets was also discovered as well as 47.5 kgs of Ephedrine disguised as tinned rice at RG Mugabe International and 2.5 kgs of cocaine was seized from a 74-year-old wheel chair bound lady in false compartments of her handbag.

With the launch of the RILO website, NCPs where urged to constantly engage and contribute on the RILO website by way of writing blog articles.

Countries represented in the meeting included, South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Malawi, Botswana, Namibia, Kenya, Madagascar, Zambia, Seychelles, Angola, Mozambique, Tanzania, Eswatini, Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Rwanda presented their reports. Members were encouraged to upload their seizures on CEN and to be more active in the WCO Projects or operations.

In his closing remarks, the head of Compliance and Risk at the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, Mr Adrian Swarres, thanked the participants for their lively and constructive contributions. He stressed the need for countries to work together in combating smuggling. He challenged member states to come up with a project to deal with the rampant smuggling of cigarettes into South Africa mainly from Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique and Zambia.