The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) on Tuesday said its officers intercepted 15,000 litres of ethanol while being smuggled at Mai Mahiu trading centre in Naivasha, within Nakuru County.
The taxman says 60 drums with 250 litres each of ethanol were intercepted while in transit towards Nairobi following an intelligence-led operation.
“The ethanol had been concealed with maize cobs inside a lorry. The goods originated from Tanzania,” said David Yego, KRA Commissioner, Intelligence, Strategic Operations, Investigations & Enforcement.
Yego, in a statement, confirmed that by the time KRA officers who had been trailing the lorry carrying the smuggled goods caught up with the lorry at Mai Mahiu, the driver had abandoned it and fled.
“The goods, which have a total tax value of KShs 6,681,713.79, are currently in the custody of KRA for further investigations including a search for the owners,” he said
Since January 2023, Yego disclosed “34 suspects have been arrested from several incidences of ethanol interceptions and a total of 60,295 litres of ethanol with a duty value of more than KShs 80 million seized,”
“Ethanol is used as a raw material in the production of excisable products therefore smuggling distorts the collection of data by Customs for trade purposes, loss of revenue and unfair trade competition,” the Commissioner charged
he said more than 50 suspects involved in illicit trade have been arrested and charged since July 2023 averting a tax loss of more than KShs 30 million.
“KRA in collaboration with other Government Agencies is committed to the fight against illicit trade. KRA has deployed robust techniques to ensure that it actively conducts intelligence surveillance, investigations and prosecution of unscrupulous traders,” he said