By Mustapha Jallow
The Gambia Revenue (GRA), on Thursday, 15th December,2021 announced that its officers arrested and detained five men for their alleged involvement in the smuggling of alcoholic beverages from Guinea Bissau through the Dimbaya border-post. The men according to the GRA’s Legal Affairs Department, are four foreign nationals and one Gambia.
“Officers of the Mobile Brigade, Intelligence and Investigations Unit of the Gambia Revenue Authority on Monday 12th December 2022, arrested five people for smuggling alcoholic beverages from Guinea Bissau, through the Dimbaya border post. The suspects are three Senegalese, a Rwandese and a Gambian citizen,’’ they disclosed.
According to GRA’s Legal Affairs department officials, they acted on tip-off from their source, and laid an ambush around the outskirts of Dimbaya village from where they trailed the suspects up to Jabang, where they were eventually arrested.
Reacting to the arrest of these five people and the seizure of their items, Essa Jallow, the Deputy Commissioner General for GRA told local reporters that December is the peak period for alcohol consumption in the country due to the Christmas and new year festivities coupled with tourist arrivals during this period.
Jallow noted that ‘recently, they have seen an increase in the level of smuggling activities involving alcoholic beverages due to the high demand for these products during the Christmas and new year festivities. That the high demand is due to the peak period of the tourist season, saying smugglers use this opportunity to engage in the illegal importation of alcoholic and related beverages to increase their income generating opportunities. Jallow said a few weeks before this current arrest, officers of GRA engaged smugglers in hot pursuit around the same Dimbaya village, resulting in an accident where some of their staff sustained injuries and caused damage to a GRA vehicle.
“We hereby warn the public to desist from such activities. Also, GRA will use the full force of the law to prosecute all those involved in all forms of illegal importations. The Authority therefore solicits the support and cooperation of the communities around our porous borders, in combating the illegal smuggling of alcohol into the country,’’ GRA’s DCG warned.
In the meantime, GRA’s legal department informs that investigations are ongoing in order to unravel those behind the smuggling.