KRA officials accused of auctioning contraband

Four containers of condemned ethanol impounded by EACC sleuths leaving port after illegal clearance

Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) is on the spot after it emerged that it auctioned contraband ethanol which President Uhuru Kenyatta had ordered destroyed in 2016.

The ethanol in eight 20-foot containers was part of 64 others seized by the same authority as illegal imports.

Part of the ethanol was torched by the President on January 21, 2016 in an exercise targeting condemned sugar and rice valued at Sh400 million.

The ethanol was imported on diverse dates in 2015 in contravention of customs regulations and other government restrictions.

President Uhuru, who was accompanied by KRA Commissioner General John Njiraini and Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission CEO Halakhe Waqo during the exercise, expressed disappointment that the process had not been well planned and ordered the officials to ensure all the illicit cargo is destroyed. However, it has emerged that some of the condemned sugar, rice and the ethanol was not destroyed and could have found its way into the market.

EACC officers in Mombasa are now pursuing individuals within KRA in connection with illegal auctioning and clearance of the contraband.

The eight containers were auctioned at the customs warehouse last month and was bought by Shore to Shore Suppliers Limited, based in Nairobi at Sh600,000 each.

The ethanol had been declared as tiles and base oil. Ethanol, and sugar are both restricted items that should only be imported by bonafide importers, who must be registered manufacturers.

EACC communication officer Yassin Ayila said officers on the ground were tipped off and intercepted four of the containers at Multiple ICD CFS in Kibarani area of Mombasa after being illegally cleared.

“The consignment were earmarked for destruction but we intercepted four of them which were already cleared and were headed to a liquor company in Nairobi,” he said in an interview with People Daily.

EACC said it is illegal to sell goods which have been declared as contraband.

“We are now investigating to find out who did what in the saga because it is illegal to auction goods that had already been declared contraband,” said Mombasa EACC deputy head Salat Abdi.

“It appears KRA officials were working in cahoots with the cartels involved. They were waiting to make sure all our officers on the ground are transferred so that they can proceed with their illegal business…they thought we were transferred,” he said.

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