Two suspected illegal sugar smugglers charged over tax evasion

Two suspects have been charged before Kapenguria Principal Magistrate Samuel Mutai for allegedly smuggling 8,000kgs of sugar from Uganda valued at Kshs 530,720.

According to the Kenya Revenue Authority, the illegal sugar consignment has a tax implication of Kshs 705,859 given the load lacked a certificate of origin from the East African Community where the applicable import duty is 100% and VAT at 14%.

The accused, Martin Siwotoi and Sammy Gachau Maina were both charged with two counts of acquiring unaccustomed goods contrary to section 200 (d)

(iii)    of the East African Community Management Act 2004 and Conveying unaccustomed goods contrary to section 199(b) (iii) of the East African Community and Customs Management Act 2004.

They denied the charges and were released on a bond of Kshs. 50,000 or a cash bail of Kshs. 25,000.

The arraignment followed lengthy investigations carried out by KRA’s Investigation and Enforcement Department in conjunction with officers from the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) Kapenguria who while on patrol, intercepted a vehicle ferrying brown sugar from Uganda without an importation license and certificate from the sugar directorate under Agriculture and Food Authority as required by law.

The licenses and permit form part of the documentation to be presented to customs Officers at the time of importation for clearance and payment of requisite customs duty.

Unscrupulous importers who do not have the requisite license smuggle sugar from Uganda using ungazetted border points such as Karita and Lokiriama to avoid the rigors of customs processes at designated border points with Uganda namely Busia, Lwakhakha, Malaba, and Swam.

The sugar is then repackaged and distributed to shopkeepers within Trans Nzoia, West Pokot, and Lodwar counties.

This leads to loss of revenue to the Government and unfair trade practices in the region.

“KRA is committed to pursuing those who fail to comply with Tax and Customs Legislation thus hampering the realization of Kenya’s Transformation Agenda. We urge all importers to ensure that they comply with all customs laws and processes and pay the correct taxes during customs clearance,” KRA stated.

The case will be heard on 16th November 2020.


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