President Uhuru Kenyatta Thursday led top officials from Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA)and Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) in witnessing the destruction of ksh400 million contraband sugar and other counterfeit goods confiscated recently at the Port of Mombasa.
The President was present at the torching of the first few barrels containing ethanol, kicking off the burning of 64 containers of ethanol valued at Sh288 million, 39 containers of sugar valued at Sh56 million as well as 50 containers of condemned rice that is unfit for human consumption and has no commercial value.
President Kenyatta was accompanied by Kenya Revenue Authority Commissioner General John Njiraini and Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission CEO Halakhe Waqo to the Mwakirunge dumpsite to witness the destruction of the contraband goods.
Addressing Mishomoroni residents on his way from the dumpsite, President Kenyatta said the Government will not allow unscrupulous people to deny the country revenue through illegal importation of goods.
“The Government will see to it that this business of importing contraband goods stops and those involved prosecuted,” President Kenyatta said.
The elicit sugar were intercepted together with ethanol worth millions of shillings in Mombasa Port last Friday and forfeited to the state for destruction.
Top officials from both Kenya Revenue Authority and Ethics & Anti-Corruption Commission led by KRA Commissioner General John Njiraini earlier told journalists in Mombasa that the 39 containers stuffed with sugar imports from Brazil had been concealed, disguised and declared as hardware material, whole lentils, photocopier, office furniture, new shoes and dried grapes.
The KRA boss and EACC Executive Secretary and CEO Halakhe Waqo said the containers were for discharge at various Container Freight Stations primarily Auto Port, Focus and Mombasa Container Terminal, reportedly in transit to neighboring countries.
“Sugar is a protected and highly sensitive commodity which requires an import permit by the Sugar Regulatory Authority. It attracts 100% duty over and above other levies”, said in their joint statement.
The containers with ethanol were intercepted between October and December 2015. The ethanol had been imported by unlicensed excise manufacturers.
KRA and EACC jointly say all the tax evaders and their agents will be prosecuted for committing economic crimes, and the containers of sugar and Ethanol forfeited to the government for destroying.
Mr Njiraini said destruction of the illegally imported ethanol, sugar and rice sends a stern warning to persons perpetrating fraud in Customs processes and those who collaborate with them.
“We have heightened surveillance and will arrest and prosecute those involved in tax evasion and other economic crimes,” Mr Njiraini said.
President Uhuru’s appearance at the dumping site to witness the goods being destroyed also sent a strong signals to unscrupulous traders that government is serious in fighting the fraud.