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Former Kenyan minister arrested in Uganda

Former Kenyan Minister, Stephen Tarus arrested in Uganda over gold smuggling using forged documents.

Stephen Tarus, a former assistant minister for internal security under former president Mwai Kibaki, was detained by Ugandan authorities on accusations of smuggling gold. 

According to reports, the former minister and politician was charged with smuggling 13 kg of gold into Uganda under false pretenses.

Tarus was brought before a Ugandan anti-corruption court on Wednesday, after to his detention on January 6, 2024. 

The prosecution was handed seven days to complete investigations into the allegations with Tarus detained at Luzira Prison.

Tarus is set to face charges of fraud, smuggling gold, and forging URA documents, including paying Ksh4.7 million in Kampala to have the gold transported into the nation, according to press sources. 

Ugandan authorities, in a joint operation with Ugandan Revenue Authority (URA) officials, recently launched a crackdown to tame the vice that has been rampant in the region.

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Tarus served as an assistant minister under the late President Mwai Kibaki’s regime as well as Kenya’s high commissioner to Australia between 2009 and 2012.

The 57-year-old also served as a Member of Parliament for Emgwen Constituency between 2003 and 2007.

The latest data from the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime shows that Uganda is an attractive market for illicit gold owing to its proximity to neighbouring countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kenya and South Sudan.

This was occasioned by corruption at weak border points, airports and porous borders hence making it easier for perpetrators to smuggle goods into the country.

The high-risk areas for illicit gold flows include the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya and Arua in Uganda. 

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