Balala: Firms funding anti-rail protests

Thursday, October 24th, 2019 08:41 |
Tourism Cabinet secretary Najib Balala. Photo/KENNA CLAUDE

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has accused owners of Container Freight Stations (CFS) of sponsoring the ongoing demonstrations against the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR),  “to save their clandestine illegal businesses”.

Balala alleged CFSs have been dens for concealing illegal trade such as illicit drugs, wildlife trophy trafficking and tax evasion.

He said the State directive requiring all Nairobi-bound cargo be ferried via SGR and cleared at the Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Nairobi has “touched the nerve of drugs and wildlife crimes”.

Counter trafficking

“When goods are at the port, we have the necessary infrastructure to ensure that they are screened but when they are outside the port... that is where illegal wildlife products, drugs and goods that do not pay taxes take place,” the CS said. 

Balala (pictured) spoke while opening the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime port stakeholders workshop on countering wildlife trafficking through seaports in Mombasa.

He maintained the government will not reverse its SGR cargo policy, adding that nobody is being forced to use SGR. 

“We appreciate the CFSs but we need to transform into the new business model,” he said.

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