A planned verification of 14 containers seized at the port of Mombasa has been put off after a standoff between Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) officials.
The container which were intercepted by customer officials while illegally being removed from the port are suspected to be ferrying rice and unidentified contrabands.
Fraudsters suspected to be working with rogue custom and KPA officials had attempted to steal the containers using forged document.
KRA officials sent at the port to carry out the 100 percent verification of the cargo and journalists were barred from accessing the port in what appears as an attempt to cover up the illegal removal of the cargo.
The KRA officials and journalists spent better part of Friday camping outside KPA gate.
A KPA security officer manning the gate said they were under firm instructions not to allow in anyone from KRA and journalists going for the verification.
“We have been told not to allow KRA and journalists in for verification,” said the security officer who sought anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to the media.
On their part, custom officials accused KPA management of trying to undermine their work and being complicit to illegal activities at the port.
According to a report sent to KRA Commissioner general John Njiraini whose copy has been seen by People Daily, the 20 foot containers have been moved to the Port police for safe keeping after it emerged that some forces were determined to remove them from container terminal.
The containers imported from India by Gobtex International (Uganda) Limited were exported by a company identified as Nekolkata of India and arrived in the country on October 17 last year aboard vessel MV Hansa America.
The document says that even before the cargo had been cleared by KRA, some rogue KPA officers had issued the cargo agent with gate clearance documents.
“After background checks, we were surprised to learn that all KPA formalities had been completed and the cargo was ready for port gate out, this is a clear case of aiding illegal removal of goods at port,” said another KRA officer.
The officer said that the fraudster had lodged documents of a similar consignment but the entry 2017MSA 6258317 had already been used to clear seven containers of rice by another importer.
The report prepared by Investigations and Enforcement Chief manager Southern region further indicates that the 14 containers had been lotted as overstayed cargo on December 21, 2016 and gazetted on January 13 this year for auction.
“Just like in the loss of 124 containers case that is before court, they are still using fake custom entries to undertake KPA processes,” the Investigations and Enforcement manager said in the report.
The officers said they had sought intervention of KRA Commissioner General John Njirainito have the verification carried out.