BUSIA, UGANDA - This story shows how the lapse in the law coupled by porous border points and tax difference is fuelling cross-border beer smuggling between Uganda and Kenya.

It depicts the colossal sums of revenues lost due to the illicit alcohol trade that is thriving between Busia, and Malaba, Uganda’s main border points and leading import from the sea route.

The cross-border beer bmuggling is hurting revenue collections in Kenya and Uganda and has according to local authorities infringed on adequate provision of social amenities that is crucial for the community development.

The investigations revealed that the vice that has been going over the years is escalating amidst little attention by both nations, leading to substantial consequences such as reported low development in the communities neighbouring both nations.

Locals say that the Ugandan beer is preferred to the Kenyan one because it’s much cheaper. At times several Kenyans cross into Uganda to consume this beer before crossing back into Kenya. As a result Kenya is losing up to USD$ 3.6m in tax evasion due to illicit trade.

The story also explains how the cross-border beer smuggling has not only affected revenue collection from both the Uganda Revenue Authority in terms of excise duty from exports, and the Kenyan Revenue Authority in terms of income tax, but has also led to multiple injuries among those nabbed as they engage in the trade interfacing with the cross-fire from security and anti-smuggling forces.

Team members

Patrick Jaramogi

Patrick Jaramogi is an investigative journalist, researcher and editor with over two decades experience on covering crime, corruption, illicit financial flows, trade and business.

Patrick Jaramogi
A grant of €340 was allocated on 15.01.2020

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