Firm whose Sh120m mobile phones were stolen on spot over alleged tax evasion

Wednesday, May 6th, 2020 14:31 |
Rolling Cargo. Photo/Courtesy

Investigations into the theft of mobile phones worth over Sh120 million reported to police last month took another twist after fresh investigations were launched into allegations of a Sh5 billion tax evasion through importation of undervalued and undeclared goods.

Rolling Cargo Company had on April 9 reported to the police that their cargo, 750 cartons of Infinix phones, was stolen on transit from the African Cargo at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to their warehouse in Eastleigh, Nairobi.

Detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and customs officials from the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) are seeking to establish if the owners were deliberately under-declaring the consignments or smuggling taxable products.

“Investigations were launched after reports indicated that the Rolling Cargo Company Limited was undervaluing the goods they bring in the country, in addition to failing to declare their manifest,” a senior DCI detective involved in the investigation said

Some detectives who on Monday visited the African Cargo Facility on a fact-finding mission about contraband electronic goods told People Daily that they stumbled on another consignment of electronic goods mainly mobile phones that had just been imported.

The consignment included mobile phones waybills numbers 071 35925960, 071 3592 5956, 071 3592 3370, and 071 3592 3366 plus others of the previous shipments.

According to the DCI detectives, the goods had been undervalued to evade levies due to the government, which led to the conclusion of the existence of an organized cartel that has been fleecing taxpayers of possibly hundreds of millions of shillings.

A waybill (UIC) -a document issued by a carrier giving details and instructions relating to the shipment of a consignment of goods –generally indicates the names of the consignor and consignee, the point of origin of the consignment, its destination and route.

Already, forensic experts from the Economic Crime Unit are combing through the firm’s records and contracts with various traders from Nairobi’s CBD, Eastleigh and Mombasa.

According to the investigators, the freight cartel’s illegal activities include allowing contraband goods into the market, false declaration of the value of imports to attract less tax or failing to inspect all containers, thus allowing substandard goods into the country.

Preliminary investigations point to a collusion between the owners and some rogue KRA officials, with the later facilitating false declarations, denying the taxman requisite taxes such as import duty.

They also allow in counterfeits in exchange for bribes.

Detectives say the suspect is a major player in the importation of substandard electronic goods that do not have ‘Certified by a Verification Company’ from country of origin into Kenya.

According to Registrar of Company’s CR 12, Omer Abdi Gule and Mohamed Abdi Gulet are listed as owners of the Rolling Cargo Company Ltd while Stella Nyamu is listed as the sole secretary.

Initial investigations were launched after Mohamed Hassan Mohamed, the director of Rolling Cargo Ltd reported that he had lost 750 cartons of assorted mobile phones valued at Sh120 million while on transit.

Mohammed said motor vehicle registration number KBZ 628X went missing before reaching its destination within Eastleigh Section 3.

The vehicle was recovered on Mara Road with only seven cartons of assorted mobile phones recovered. The lorry was being driven by Daniel Kavuti, 40, according to records at the Buruburu DCI offices.

“Those evading paying taxes import most of their electronic cargo from the Middle East such as Dubai and China via JKIA,” the detective said.

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