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Mombasa CFSs deny drugs link

Tuesday December 10 2019

Colonel (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna.

Government spokesman Cyrus Odhiambo Oguna. FILE PHOTO | COURTESY 

MAGDALENE WANJA
By MAGDALENE WANJA
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Container freight stations (CFSs) have dismissed assertions by the government that some of their members are involved in the narcotics trade.

The companies, which are currently embroiled in a row with the State over its move to forcibly move inland-bound cargo on the standard gauge railway (SGR), say the accusations should be ignored as they are not based on actual facts.

This comes days after government spokesman Cyrus Oguna said some CFSs have been storing and handling drugs that find their way into the local market.

Mr Oguna further stated that CFSs have been evading paying taxes.

But in a press statement published in Tuesday's dailies, the CFS association said it is the second point of rest for cargo that comes through the port of Mombasa, hence illicit cargo would first have been flagged by the authorities.

“It beats all logic how containers landing first at the port of Mombasa, which has a substantial deployment of KRA customs officers and scanning equipment, police and intelligence agencies, would be released to the CFSs without flagging and arresting those involved in malpractices,” read the statement.

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The traders also noted that the timing of the accusations comes after protests from Mombasa's business community amid a push by the State to move inland-bound cargo via SGR.

“We are of the view that this is being done to prop up the SGR freight service which is yet to prove its advantages over road transport especially when looking at the cumulative service costs ... The SGR freight service has been unable to match these service offerings hence the continued clamour by cargo importers to be allowed to clear cargo at their selected CFS of choice.”