By Ishmael Dumbuya
The Anti-Smuggling Unit, Border Controls and Management has raised great concern on the rate and level at which goods meant for the development of the country are being smuggled out of the country to other countries.
That made the Assistant Commissioner Anti-smuggling Unit, Border Controls and Management, Richard Senessie to come out to the public in an interview on ‘Gud Morning Salone’ Program, that government is losing a lot of revenue because of the activities of people who smuggle items meant for the development of Sierra Leone to other countries which he said has hindered government’s revenue collection.
Sierra Leone Borders are mostly porous across the country. These borders have long been a conduit for illegal trade and irregular migration. Currently, the poor management of these borders allows human trafficking, drugs, arms and criminals to freely travel across them which have been a major cause of national insecurity. The number of border crossing points totaled over 800 with very few manned and the greater quantity unmanned.
He went on to state that very recently the Anti-Smuggling Unit uncovered massive illegal timber depot in Katonga Village, Port Loko District even though no arrests were made but however assured the public that the trucks will be handed over to the Ministry of Finance adding that anyone who identifies the trucks as their will be dealt with by law.
According to the assistant commissioner, the issue of timber smuggling is not a new phenomenon and has been going on for a while now in that part of the country. He added that the illegal cartel has caused a lot of harm to the country and its citizens.
Assistant Commissioner Senesie furthered that the illicit movement of timber in Port Loko District has made the country to lose millions of Leones that should have gone into the development of the country, but has gone into the pockets of smugglers.
Senesie explained that they’ve been getting reports of illegal timber export across various illegal crossing points between Sierra Leone and Guinea. He said he cannot ascertain the volume of timber smuggling as his unit has sanctioned investigations into the matter.
He ended on the note that the number of illegal incidents of timber at the various border points are unprecedented, stating that the Authority has alerted all security personnel at the various border points to be vigilant against illegal dealers.