KRA found contraband sugar, ethanol in firm linked with Joho family

According to investigators, the sugar consignment had been declared as a floor sanding machine and hardware tools.

Wednesday February 17 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 PHILIP MUYANGA
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The Kenya Revenue Authority on Wednesday said it found contraband sugar and ethanol at a company linked to the family of Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho even as the agency filed an application to quash an order stopping it from suspending the firm’s licence.

The authority said it had impounded the 20 containers of sugar imported from Brazil and one 40-foot container with 135 drums of ethanol at the Autoports container freight station.

According to the investigators, the sugar consignment had been declared as floor a sanding machine and hardware tools.

The officials say the contraband sugar and ethanol is estimated to be worth Sh36 million and Sh11 million in tax value respectively.

“Investigators undertaking the probe at Autoports Container Freight Station which was ordered closed last month have discovered a fresh list of cargo containers loaded with imported sugar and ethanol products,” read the statement issued by Ms Grace Wandera, KRA deputy commissioner for marketing and communications.

The KRA commissioner for customs and border control, Mr Julius Musyoki, said the consignment would be subjected to further assessments and if found to contain contraband items, it would be destroyed as a warning to traders engaged in illegal business.

COURT ORDER

Meanwhile, the KRA wants the order issued on February 1 putting on hold its decision to suspend Autoports Terminals Limited's licence lifted pending the hearing and determination of the case.

According to the KRA’s application, it is based on the grounds that the effect of the stay of execution is to allow and permit the company to carry on its operations notwithstanding the contents of the letter from the commissioner of customs and border control dated January 28.

The KRA argues that Autoports neglected to disclose to the court the letter suspending the operations as a Customs Bonded Cargo Handling Facility to pave the way for investigations into violations of the East African Community Customs Management Act.

“The applicant has wilfully neglected to disclose to this court that the commissioner is mandated to regulate all customs areas with a view to securing all goods or cargo under customs control,” the application read in part.

Autoports and Portside have also filed applications seeking to have Kenya Ports Authority acting managing director Catherine Mturi and head of litigation Addraya Dena summoned to court to show cause why they should not be committed to civil jail for disobeying a court order.

The freight stations want both or either of the two senior KPA officers, on failing to show necessary cause, jailed for six months for contempt of court.

Through lawyers Paul Buti and Balala & Abed advocates, they separately in their applications argued that on January 25 the court, through an order, put on hold the KPA’s decision suspending the nomination of containers to the applicants’ freight stations.

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