BY CORRESPONDENT,NAIROBI,17TH JUNE,2021-Two traders have been intercepted while trying to smuggle 6200 litres of ethanol while concealed in maize and wheat bran bags. Stephen Njuguna Kironji, owner of goods and Kenneth Karanja Kimaku who was the driver of a motor vehicle registration number KCG 865K.
The driver was arrested on 13th June 2021 in Kinangop area along Nakuru Nairobi Highway and the owner was arrested at Mugumu Police Station where the vehicle was detained. The customs duty of the goods is Kshs 2,571,924.
The 30 drums of ethanol were concealed inside their Isuzu lorry using 46 bags of maize and 37 bags of wheat bran which were neatly arranged at the rear and side doors. Before their arrest, the two failed to produce importation documents, a licence or registration by KRA, and which are a requirement to import excisable goods such as ethanol.
The suspects were charged with three counts relating to tax evasion on Tuesday 15th June 2021 before Engineers Law Court Resident Magistrate Hon Rawlings Musiega. They faced charges of; fraudulent evasion of payment of duty, importation of Excisable goods without a licence or being registered and that of conveying uncustomed goods. The charges are offences under various sections of the East African Community and Customs Management Act 2004, the Excise Duty Act No 23 of 2015 and Excise Duty (Excisable Goods Management System Regulations 2017.
They denied the charges and were released on a bond of Kshs 300,000 and a surety or a cash bail of Ksh 150,000 each.
In order to import excisable goods such as ethanol into Kenya, importers are required to pay customs duty for importation of goods. The customs duty depends on the kind of goods being imported.
KRA has aggressively embarked on eliminating tax evasion in the Country that has led to several arrests and prosecutions that have resulted in the unearthing of various tax fraud schemes.
Taxpayers are encouraged to remain complaint with tax laws in order to avoid punitive enforcement measures including prosecution.