Cargo worth millions of shillings went under the hammer on Wednesday at the port of Mombasa after importers failed to pay duty to the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).
KRA deputy commissioner in charge of Southern Region Nicholas Kinoti said the assorted goods were auctioned after the importers failed to collect their cargo due to non-payment of duty.
He said they gave the importers a 30-day notice for them to pay the required duty but they failed to do so.
“It is important for importers to pay duty when their goods arrive at the port of Mombasa. If they fail to do so, the KRA is mandated to auction the goods to generate revenue,” he added.
Speaking at Customs Warehouse at the port of Mombasa on Wednesday during the auction, the KRA official called on Kenyans to participate in the auctions.
The cargo, which went under the hammer included vehicles, household items, electrical appliances, travelling bags and washing machines.
He noted that another auction would take place on January 17.
The KRA official said some cargo could not be auctioned as they were still being held for verification or waiting valuation.
Some goods, which were deemed expensive by buyers, he added, are awaiting devaluation approval from the authorities ahead of the second auction exercise this month.
“An auctioneer has been brought from Nairobi in a bid to ensure transparency in the auction goods. We want to ensure that the process is fair to all bidders,” he added.
In the previous auction, he added, the Kenya Revenue Authority sold off goods worth Sh100 million.
A Mombasa businessman Bipin Narandas said this year’s auction was transparent as the bidders were given an opportunity to openly bid for the goods of their choice.
“In the previous auctioneering, there used to be numerous complaints of favouritism, but this time around, the exercise was conducted fairly,” he said.
However, the businessman called on the Kenya Bureau of Standards to fast track verification of the authenticity of cargo to enable the owners collect them on time.
“The Kenya Bureau of Standards should speed up the verification of foods and medicine to prevent them from going bad,” he said.
He said importers of foods and medicine end up incurring huge losses after the commodities go to waste due to verification delays.