BURS Clashes With DCEC, DISS Over Seizure of ‘Contraband’

  • Customs Act permits storing goods in bonded warehouse before clearance
  • ‘Contraband’ seized in probe into P14m purportedly swindled from investor


The Directorate of Intelligence and Security Service (DISS) and the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC) have been accused of violating the Customs Act in recent raids for alcohol and tobacco contraband linked to a P14 million fraud investigation.

The two law enforcement agencies are believed to have contravened bonded warehouse provisions under the Customs Act.

“DISS and DCEC were wrong to seize the goods without involving BURS,” said an inside source.  “That is a bonded warehouse and the matter is far from whether the goods might have been proceeds of a crime or not.”

G/West warehouse

Almost a fortnight ago, DCEC and DISS seized from a warehouse in Gaborone West goods worth over P5 million that were suspected to be linked to P14 million swindled from a Chinese investor, Xuhun Song, in early 2022.

However, it turns out that under the Customs Act, Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) allows bonded warehouse licence holders to store goods without payment of the customs duties and taxes until the goods are either re-exported or released for domestic consumption.

“The issue of goods that were seized at the G/West warehouse is purely a BURS matter,” said the source. “Other law enforcement agencies would have been involved at a later stage.”

DCEC and DISS confirmed to the media last month that they were lead agencies in the P14 million fraud investigations.