More than 100 owners of some 568 vehicles that have overstayed at the Port of Mombasa risk losing them mid next month at a Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) auction meant to rid the hub of congestion.
The taxman says in a gazette notice detailing the nature of the goods, date of importation and the intended recipients that the owners have up to 30 days to clear them if they are to escape the auctioneer’s hammer.
The list of cars set for auction range from top of the range models such as Mercedes Benz, Toyota Land Cruiser and Toyota Prado to low-end units such as Toyota Probox.
A Toyota Prado imported in the name of Jesus is Alive Ministries run by bishop cum politician Margaret Wanjiru is among the vehicles earmarked for auction.
KRA chief manager for Port Operations Joseph Kaguru has invited prospective buyers to view the goods on 17th and 18th December ahead of the auction.
“Notice is given that unless the goods are entered and removed from the custody of the Customs Warehouse Keeper, Kilindini within 30 days of this notice, they will be sold by public auction on 19th December, 2018,” says Mr Kaguru,.
Majority of the vehicles (370) arrived in Mombasa early this year, meaning that they have attracted demurrage costs running into several months.
Jan Africa Investments, a supplier of second-hand cars, has 49 of its vehicles earmarked for the auction with most having arrived in July.
The list of companies with at least five vehicles earmarked for auction includes Autobox Motors, Zain Trading, Jan Japan, Beru Trading and Nakuru-based Rift Cars.
The looming auction comes at a time when KRA’s action in partnership with Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) and the Anti-Counterfeit Agency to stem tax evasion and nab illicit imports has gained momentum.
Importers have in recent months complained of undue delays in clearance of goods at the port. KRA has since October 1 tightened the inspection procedures to reflect provisions of legal notice number 127 of June 19, 2018, which requires all imported goods to be duly verified by an inspection body appointed by Kebs, in the country of origin prior to shipment.
“In exceptional circumstances where goods arrive without Certificate of Conformity at the Port of entry, they will be verified upon payment by the importer of an inspection fee of 20 percent of the approved Customs value,” said KRA in the September notice.
Assorted goods belonging to over 300 other individuals and firms have also been advertised for auction as KRA moves to decongest its warehouse.
Electricity distributor Kenya Power is among the firms whose goods are being held in 21 different containers and could be auctioned unless cleared within the notice period.
The list of Kenya Power goods being held includes 4,060 kilogramme materials meant for construction of Thika road sub-station, a feeder protection system, Busbar protection transformer and a metering system.
KRA in January collected at least Sh62.2 million from the first public auction of the year that involved 53 assorted goods, including vehicles, household items and construction materials. It fixes reserve prices for goods to be auctioned, with bidders expected to pay at least 25 percent of the value of goods at the fall of the hummer in cash or bankers’ cheques.