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Monday, April 15, 2024

GRA seeks help from Senegalese customs to curb alcohol smuggling

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By Omar Bah

GRA Commissioner General Yankuba Darboe has appealed to Senegalese customs to assist the Giboro customs border post to tackle the illegal smuggling of alcohol into the country.

Addressing customs officers at the post on Monday during a joint GRA board and management nationwide tour, CG Darboe said the authority is facing “serious challenges” at the border in relation to the smuggling of alcohol and appealed to their Senegalese counterparts to lend helping hands.

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“This is happening because since Banjul Breweries stopped production, a lot of people now will go to Guinea-Bissau to get alcohol, and instead of going through the approved routes, they will take advantage of the porous borders to smuggle the alcohol. I want to urge the station manager to work with other sister forces to try to conduct as many patrols as possible. I also want to appeal to our Senegalese counterparts to support us. We will appreciate it if they can escort these vehicles carrying alcohol to Giboro so that they would not have the chance of escaping,” he said.

He urged for greater collaboration between Gambian and Senegalese security forces.

The head of the Giboro post informed the visiting officials that his officers collected D10,315,895 against a target of D8,145,794 in 2023.

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He said they were able to achieve that “feat” because of the improved management and coordination among sister security forces at the borders.

“We formed an inter-border committee of all sister securities to discuss issues concerning our border management. We conduct patrols every fifteen days of the month to search vehicles and conduct community sensitisation. We are delighted by the continued support of the board and management,” he said.

He urged the board to support them in renovating perimeter fences and install streetlights.

Commissioner of Customs Alhagie Mbye said the Giboro posts are important because they share borders with Senegal (Casamance) and also extend to Guinea-Bissau.

“We have realised that the border is very vulnerable when it comes to the transit of goods from Casamance, especially when it comes to cannabis, and Guinea-Bissau when it comes to alcohol. It is very difficult to manage. I am advising my colleagues here and other security services to intensify the patrols because this is an area where you don’t sit and wait for revenue; you have to go for it,” he stated.

The GRA board chair, Lucy Fye, reminded the customs officers that this year’s revenue target will require their collective collaboration and commitment.

“It cannot be business as usual,” she said.

Reacting to CG’s appeal, a senior customs officer at the Senegalese border post Moustapha Sy said their director general has always emphasised to them to ensure cordial relations  with their Gambian counterparts.

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