Ugandan authorities have arrested two suspected staff members of the World Food Programme (WFP) after they attempted to smuggle goods worth US$50,000 into Uganda from Kenya under the cover of food aid.
Suspicious Ugandan officials broke diplomatic protocol and subjected the purported WFP truck from the Kenyan port of Mombasa to a search, during which they found at least 886 cartons of men’s canvas shoes, instead of the Soya beans consignment they had declared the truck was carrying.
A Ugandan senior customs official, Enoch Walugembe, confirmed the discovery, saying “the truck was suspicious. Though it was declared as WFP truck, we had to subject it to scanning that disclosed canvas shoes from China and not what the WFP officials declared as Soya beans.
“We give UN trucks priority to be cleared first and we also do not tax them, this is why some of their officials take advantage of that to smuggle goods inside the country.
“Soya beans are normally transported in open truck but this one was ‘unique.’ The false declaration of goods was made by the WFP staff,” Wlugembe revealed on Monday.
The WFP’s Deputy Country Director, Alix Loristen, has since responded with fury, calling for a joint investigation between Uganda and the WFP.
Loristen has, however, denied the WFP was involved in the scandal.
“This is not our truck and we do not know the origin of this truck. Contracted trucks do have WFP logos and UN flag. Contracted trucks from Tanzania use Rwanda route and not through Malaba where this truck passed.” Panapress.