Freight firm on the spot over link to tax dodging cartel

Wednesday, May 6th, 2020 15:13 |
The Port of Mombasa. Photo/PD/FILE

A freight cargo company is in the spotlight over links to an alleged tax evasion syndicate through the import of undervalued and undeclared goods estimated to have denied the public at least Sh 5 billion in taxes.

The matter unraveled last month after cargo cleared by Rolling Cargo Company Limited was allegedly lost on its way from African Cargo at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to Eastleigh at firm’s cargo warehouse.

According to police Occurrence Book dated April 9th, Mohamed Hassan Mohamed, the director of Rolling Cargo Limited reported that he had lost 750 cartons of assorted mobile phones valued at Sh120 million while on transit.

Mohammed said motor vehicle registration number M/V KBZ 628X went missing before reaching the destination within Eastleigh section 111, the case was reported on 10/4/2020 and on search the M/V was recovered within Mara road and seven cartons of assorted mobile phones recovered.

“Offence: stealing c/section 268 as read with 275 of the penal code ref my CR 134/72/2020, my OB 75/10/4/2020, it was reported by one Mohamed Hassan Mohamed c/o 0722722441 and the director of Rolling Cargo limited, Nairobi, that 0n 9/4/2020 he hired m/v KBZ 628X ISUZU driven by one Daniel Kavuti, Kamba male aged 40years,” a report by DCI Buruburu, Kamukunji sub county read in part.

It adds: “The same was to Transport 750 cartons of assorted mobile phones valued at sh 120,000,000 from African cargo at JKIA to Eastleigh at rolling cargo warehouse. The said motor vehicle went missing before reaching the destination within Eastleigh section 111.”

In what detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) suspect to be a larger tax evasion conduit through smuggling and importing valuable and undeclared goods in form of electronics, the firm is suspected to be part of a cartel that evades paying taxes when importing electronic cargo from the Middle East such as Dubai and China via JKIA.

People Daily has reliably learnt that the DCI investigators and officials’ customs department at KRA are now pursuing possibility of mis-declaration of the consignment or conspiracy to smuggle taxable products.

On Monday, the sleuths while on a fact finding mission to the African Cargo Facility over the entry of contraband electronic goods, stumbled on newly arrived consignment of electronic goods mainly mobile phones.

Its included mobile phones waybills (# 071 35925960, Awb# 071 3592 5956, Awb# 071 3592 3370, Awb# 071 3592 3366) and other of the previous shipments.

According to police sources, the goods had been undervalued to evade levies due to the government, which led to the conclusion the existence of an organized cartel that has been fleecing taxpayers of billions of shillings.

A waybill (UIC) is a document issued by a carrier giving details and instructions relating to the shipment of a consignment of goods. Typically it will show the names of the consignor and consignee, the point of origin of the consignment, its destination, and route.

Forensic experts from the economic crime section of the DCI have already been deployed to comb through a mountain of company records and contracts with various traders drawn from Nairobi’s CBD, Eastleigh, and Eldoret.

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.

In addition, the firm in cohort, with KRA rogue officials were said to be colluding with corrupt traders to facilitate false declarations to deny the taxman requisite taxes such as import duty. They also allow in counterfeits in exchange for bribes.

“This Rolling Cargo Company Limited has been stealing from Kenyans by undervaluing the goods they bring in the country, in adding to failing to declare their manifest,” a senior detective involved in the investigation said.

“He is a major player of substandard electronic goods that doesn’t have CoC( certified by a Verification company from country of origin) into Kenya,” he added.

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

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