A Ugandan High Commission worker has been jailed for six years for obtaining 28 tonnes of hand-rolling tobacco and failing to account for over £4.8m in evaded duty after an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
Patrick Mbogo abused privileges available to diplomats by purchasing large quantities of tobacco tax-free from specialist duty free sales companies.
Mbogo was not a diplomat but abused the system available to him as a trusted employee of the Ugandan High Commission. Embassy rules allow diplomats and missions to legitimately buy tobacco free from Excise Duty and VAT for personal use or official mission use, but they are not allowed to sell it on.
It is believed he then sold the tobacco on the hidden market at a profit, without accounting for tax or duty. The investigation team found that the fraud had taken place over a number of years and the investigation focused on sales and purchases between 2009 and 2012.
Anyone with information about smuggled or counterfeit tobacco products should contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 595000.