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Times Tower, KRA headquarters. The Kenya Revenue Authority has seized 25 containers of hides and skins worth millions of shillings at the Mombasa port.
The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has seized 25 containers of hides and skins worth millions of shillings at the Mombasa port.
The consignment was seized as the suspects attempted to sneak consignment out of the port for export to foreign markets.
Commissioner Investigation and Enforcement Department Edward Karanja said the intercepted consignment was among 50 containers of hides and skins that had been set aside for verification.
“We suspected that the containers were misdeclared as other goods to evade the payment of export duties,” he said
Dr Karanja said that the confiscation of the cargo has saved the agency from losing millions of shillings in export duty.
“The government would have lost approximately Sh75 million in export duty had the culprits managed to sneak the cargo out of the port for export,” he said.
According to KRA, the scheme involves stuffing containers with raw hides and skins meant for export from local godowns in the absence of customs officers.
The agency said the export declarations are made in customs systems with false information on description of goods, local exporter, country of destination and weight.
“The goods declared in customs export documents are disguised as those that are exempted from export duty,” Dr Karanja said.
The agency has said that it also established that the involved merchants tried to bribe its officers to scuttle the ongoing investigations.
“KRA officers together with their counterparts from Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) laid a trap and were able to arrest three suspects who had offered a bribe of Sh700, 000,” he said
Following the seizure of the 25 containers, KRA said it has tightened the noose against perpetrators of a tax evasion scheme on non-payment of export duty on locally sourced raw hides and skins.
Dr Karanja has said that the agency is determined to ensure there is a fair playing ground for legitimate business to thrive.
“I encourage the public to undertake legitimate and clean business. KRA has an elaborate intelligence network to detect, disrupt and deter such tax evasion schemes to create a level playing field for all,” he said
The arrest of the three people brings to four the number of suspects linked to the syndicate involving exportation of hides and skins without paying taxes.
The investigations have revealed that the unscrupulous traders behind the scandal export locally sourced hides and skins as transit cargo originating from South Sudan.
The successful operation by KRA this year has seen it disrupt attempts to export goods without paying duty to the government.
Mr Onywa Caleb Orwa was in March this year arraigned in court and charged with denying the government Sh1.7 million revenue by false declaration of goods at the Mombasa port.
KRA has accused Mr Orwa of falsely declaring 6000 pieces of dried hides and skins, thus denying the government of revenue.
Records filed by KRA in court indicate that Mr Orwa, jointly with others still at large, unlawfully made an entry in a custom documents, declaring that the consignment, enclosed in a container, was transit goods originating from South Sudan, thereby evading payment of Sh1.7 million, and being export duty due to the commissioner of customs and Border Control.
The taxman claimed that the suspect, being a representative of the exporter, knowingly took part in the fraudulent evasion of payment of duty.
KRA has indicated that on September 21, 2020, its investigation and enforcement officers seized a 40 foot container with hides and skins, declared as transit cargo for export to Nigeria.
Further, the agency’s investigations have so far revealed that the goods never originated from South Sudan, but were instead gathered locally.
According to the KRA, exportation of hides and skins is restricted export that attracts export duty and by misdeclaring country of origin, the exporter is perpetuating tax evasion. – nation.africa