Kenya Revenue Authority officials on Tuesday impounded luxury cars imported from Britain and disguised as household goods in what appeared to be a tax evasion racket involving cartels in the UK and Uganda.
Through the racket, high value vehicles such as Range Rovers and Mercedes Benzes are imported into the country declared as household items.
Addressing the press at the port, where some 40-foot containers holding the illegal cargo were opened, Southern Regional KRA Manager Nicholas Ngeera said two Range Rover vehicles and a Mercedes Benz car would have cost the government Sh8.5 million in tax revenue.
“Through high risk profiling, KRA has smashed a tax evasion racket perpetrated by unscrupulous businessmen,” said Mr Ngeera.
He said that KRA officials, after scanning the containers, seized the three vehicles valued at Sh28 million concealed behind baby walkers and used mattresses declared as personal effects and household goods.
“The supplier of the motor vehicles, according to declaration documents, is one Mr Saidar Muteweta of London and the consignee a Mr Abubakari Sekimwanyi of Uganda,” the KRA official told journalists.
The vehicles are being held at the KRA Customs Warehouse within the Mombasa port.
LIAISING WITH INVESTIGATION AGENCIES
He said that KRA was liaising with Interpol, Directorate of Criminal Investigations, Regional Intelligence Liaison Office and other investigation agencies to establish how the cargo was brought into the port of Mombasa.
Another suspicious container is being held awaiting verification, said Mr Ngeere, adding that initial indications were that the goods had been wrongly declared.
“KRA over the weekend identified another container [and] preliminary investigations indicate that the declaration does not conform to the scanned images,” he said.
The manifesto details being held by KRA indicate that the 40-foot container is carrying personal effects and household goods.
“But the scanned images appear to be of high end vehicles,” he said adding that the suspicious container arrived at the port on March 14 from Britain and was on transit to Uganda.
“The documents indicate that the supplier is a Mr Rennie Musisi while the consignee is one Mr Robert Musisi.
“We shall subject this container to 100 per cent verification,” he said, adding that KRA was committed to stamping out the illegal trade.
He said that after establishing the circumstances of the imports, the cargo would undergo normal disposition processes including being sold at an auction or destruction.