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BY JOAN WANJIKU,NAIROBI,1ST DEC,2020-Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has smashed a syndicate involving the importation of contraband goods into the Country through the Taveta-Holili One –Stop Border Post (OSBP).
KRA detectives intercepted and seized restricted goods, including ethanol, assorted cosmetics used textiles, used footwear, soap handkerchiefs and used shoes with a total value of Ksh10,693,391, at the border. The detectives also arrested a suspect in connection to part of the consignment. Should those behind the racket have succeeded in their scheme, the government would have lost Ksh6,811,870 million in tax revenue.
The goods were misdeclared as sandals manufactured in Tanzania to circumvent the law on importation of contraband goods. The suspects behind the scheme attempted to sneak the goods into the Kenyan market in five trucks before the interception.
The importation of the concealed used clothes and footwear contravened the new Protocols for Importation of Used Textiles and Used Footwear into Kenya issued by the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development in August 2020.
The goods were seized in an operation conducted by detectives from the KRA enforcement units and the National Police Service at the Taveta border following intelligence reports.
Upon verification, the trucks were found to contain other items apart from what had been declared. The assorted cosmetics, soap handkerchiefs, shoes and clothes were concealed in the middle of bags of sandals.
Following investigations, Kenya Revenue Authority enforcement detectives arrested a suspect in connection to the imported Cargo in two of the trucks.The suspect, Joseph Wakagwi Ndungi alias Kiganjo was arraigned before the Taveta principal Magistrate Hon. Benson Sikuku Khapoya and charged with two counts of importing restricted goods and concealment of goods contrary to provisions of The East African Community Customs Management Act.
He was charged that, on or about 1st October, 2020, at Taveta One-Stop Border Post within Taita Taveta County, knowingly with others not before court, imported restricted goods namely assorted used shoes (mitumba), all loaded in two trucks which could have caused a revenue loss of Ksh1,075,505.
The accused was also charged that on or about 1st October 2020 at Taveta one stop border post knowingly with others not before Court imported concealed goods namely assorted used Shoes(Mitumba).
The accused pleaded not guilty to the two counts and was released on a bond of Ksh1 million. The case was scheduled for mention on 14th December, 2020 and will be heard on 16th December 2020. Leading the prosecution in the case was Mr Karuga Samuel. Efforts are underway to track other suspects for purposes of arraignment before court.
KRA is determined to detect and disrupt tax evasion schemes and prosecute criminals who engage in concealment and smuggling of goods through our borders to ensure that all individuals pay their fair share of taxes and the right amount of taxes are paid to the government.