Ex-Kenya minister Stephen Tarus held in Uganda prison over gold smuggling claims
Ugandan authorities are holding Kenya’s former Assistant Minister for Internal Security Stephen Tarus on allegations of smuggling 13 kilos of gold into the country using forged documents.
Thirten kilos of gold are worth $845,821according to calculateme.com
According to press reports, Mr Tarus was arrested last week and arraigned before a Ugandan anti-corruption court on Wednesday this week. Hewas remanded at Luzira prison until January 18, pending investigations into his involvement in a gold smuggling ring with links to Kampala and the falsification of its export documents.
He is expected to answer charges of gold smuggling, fraud and forgery of Uganda Revenue Authority (URA documents, including a receipt claiming to have paid $30,000 in Kampala for the movement of the gold.
BREAKING NEWS!!Kenya’s former Minister — Stephen Kipkiyeny Tarus has been arrested by @URAuganda for gold smuggling and thus causing revenue loss to the @GovUganda.
He also served as Kenya’s High Commissioner to Australia between 2009 and 2012.
More news to follow… pic.twitter.com/udEU9B94m0
— Tax Crime Watch Africa (@TaxCrimeWatch January 10, 2024
The 57-year-old served as an assistant minister under the late President Mwai Kibaki and as Kenya’s high commissioner to Australia between 2009 and 2012. He was also a Member of Parliament for Emgwen constituency between 2003 and 2007.
Smaller flows from Kenya
According to reports by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime, Uganda is a regional hub for illicit gold smuggled from neighbouring countries, mainly the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC, South Sudan and smaller flows from Kenya.
Read:IMF tells Uganda to toughen war against money laundering
“Once the smuggled gold arrives in Uganda, traders claim it is of Ugandan origin, supported by fraudulent documentation that is difficult for the authorities to disprove,” the report says.
It adds that Uganda is an attractive market for illicit gold because of the ease with which it can be moved and traded due to insecurity in the DRC and South Sudan.
From Uganda, the gold finds its way to international markets, with a 2017 report by the United Nations Group of Experts identifying the country as a major transit route for illicit gold to the United Arab Emirates.