By Nicholas Nduati
The Kenya Revenue authority says that the closure of two container freight stations in Mombasa, Autoport Freight Terminal and Portside Freight Terminal for alleged involvement in smuggling of goods, is part of its ongoing initiative to streamline operations of Container Freight Stations.
Contrary to claims that no explanation was given for the closure, KRA Commissioner General John Njiraini says that the grounds for the actions taken were provided in the letters communicating the decision and signed by the Commissioner of Customs and Border Control.
KRA late last year commenced a process aimed at strengthening governance processes over CFS operations amid persistent challenges experienced over the years in curbing smuggled goods.
The new rules published in November last year among other things mandated periodic licensing to ensure CFSs continued to meet due diligence requirements.
With the implementation process of the new requirements commencing this month, two container freight stations in Mombasa, Autoport Freight Terminal and Portside Freight Terminal related to Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho are the first casualties of the radical move.
The two were last week closed down for alleged involvement in smuggling of goods.
In respect of the recent suspension of operating licenses for two CFSs, KRA Commissioner General John Njiraini in a statement says that the grounds for the actions taken have been provided in the letters communicating the decision and signed by the Commissioner of Customs & Border Control.
According to the statement, recent incidents and investigations in progress, have raised serious concerns over the likely involvement of some CFSs in actions that abet tax evasion. Such acts include facilitating the importation of contraband goods including sugar, rice, ethanol and other highly sought after commodities.
According to Njiraini, Further actions will be taken in respect of CFS installations found, through the ongoing investigations, to be in breach by engaging in transit diversion, smuggling and other fraudulent practices and the results of the exercise may lead to various outcomes, including suspension of the licenses of non-conforming CFSs, where breaches committed are of a serious enough nature to warrant such action.