More illegal sugar found in Joho-linked firm, says taxman

Thursday February 18 2016

A man walks past some of the 20 containers found with contraband sugar imported from Brazil and declared as sanding machine at the Autoport Container Freight Station on February 16, 2016. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A man walks past some of the 20 containers found with contraband sugar imported from Brazil and declared as a sanding machine and hardware tools at the Autoport container freight station on February 16, 2016. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By BRIAN NGUGI
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The Kenya Revenue Authority said Wednesday it had unearthed an additional consignment of illegally imported sugar at a station linked with Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho’s family.

KRA Commissioner Customs and Border Control Julius Musyoki, said investigators undertaking the probe at Autoports Container Freight Station, which was ordered closed last month, had found a fresh list of cargo containers loaded with imported sugar and ethanol.

“The investigators, who have been undertaking a multi-agency verification exercise on all containers currently held at Autoports and Portside CFS among others, have unearthed a further 20 containers of contraband sugar, imported from Brazil,” said KRA in a statement.

The authority said the sugar had been mis-declared as floor sanding machine and related hardware tools that have an estimated tax value of Sh36 million.

ETHANOL CONTAINERS

“The verification, has also stumbled upon a single 40-foot container suspected to contain 135 drums of a liquid product suspected to be ethanol of an estimated tax value of Sh11 million,” it added.

Mr Musyoki said the consignment would be subjected to further assessments and if confirmed to be holding contraband items, would be forfeited to the State for destruction.

“We are also in pursuit of the listed importers, whom we shall be seeking to arraign in court,” Mr Musyoki said.

The closure of the two firms, sparked a bitter war of words between the Opposition and the government late January, with the Opposition blaming politics for the closure.

KRA had earlier linked the suspension of licences to the two firms to investigations touching on possible tax evasion.