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Ex-KPA staff passwords ‘were used to clear cargo’

Wednesday April 04 2018
kpapic

Mombasa Port on June 7, 2017. A senior principal magistrate was told that passwords of former Kenya Ports Authority staff were used to clear containers at Kilindini Port. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By PHILIP MUYANGA

Passwords of former Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) employees were used to clear containers at Kilindini Port in Mombasa, a court was told.

The codes belonged to Ms Rose Musau, who worked in the import manifest department prior to her retirement in 2015, and Ms Florence Lagat, who had resigned.

On Wednesday, Ms Musau told the court that she was told by her former colleague, whom she identified as Nigga, that her password was “live and releasing containers” yet she was upcountry in Kangundo.

The witness said she never gave out her password to anyone and, upon retirement, she had been cleared by all the departments, including that of Information and Technology (IT).

TAX
She blamed the IT department for the mess as they ought to have deactivated the password upon her retirement.

“I did not go to KPA to ask why my password was being used,” Ms Musau told Mombasa Senior Principal Magistrate Francis Kyambia.

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She later went to Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) offices in Mombasa where she was shown five company files said to have been cleared through her password.

Ms Musau was testifying in a case in which 31 people, among them KPA and KRA employees and some business people, have been charged with conspiring to release 124 containers without paying Sh106.5 million tax.

CHARGES
The KRA and KPA employees are also facing charges of abuse of office and aiding and abetting fraudulent evasion of taxes.

On Tuesday, the court was also told that some containers placed on hold were released from the port without payment of duty using a staff number belonging to Ms Lagat.

Mr Benjamin Mwandawiro, who was a customer service officer at Electronic Data Interchange manifest office, told the court that he was surprised that Ms Lagat’s number was used, allowing the gate delivery process of the containers when she had already resigned.

The witness, who is currently deployed at the container terminal, said placing the containers on “terminal hold” disallows any gate delivery process and there was no exception to the rule.

The offence was allegedly committed between May 1 and August 3, 2016 at Kilindini Port.

The hearing of the case continues.

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