Sleuths probing traders linked to evasion of tax

Monday, May 18th, 2020 00:00 |
Rolling Cargo. Photo/Courtesy

Hillary Mageka @hillarymageka

Detectives have launched investigations into reports of under-declaration and failure to declare the value of imported goods by unscrupulous businessmen to evade tax estimated to be worth billions of shillings.

Investigations have also revealed that other businessmen import goods claiming they are on transit to Uganda and South Sudan but end up selling them within the country thus evading paying tax.

Sleuths from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) officials are currently investigating at least three businessmen in connection to the tax evasion racket.

In a supporting affidavit filed by a DCI investigator seen by the People Daily, detectives seek to investigate the activities of the Rolling Cargo Company’s director Mohamed Abdi Gulet and the firm’s clearing agent Mohammed Busaidy.

Another man of interest is Mohammed Hussein, a businessman based on Luthuli Avenue in Nairobi.

On Friday, detectives made an impromptu visit to the firm’s African Cargo Facility at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), where they found consignment of electronic goods mainly mobile phones that had just been imported.

“The shipment of consolidated cargo is believed to have been smuggled to evade levies due to the government, with some being contraband,” a detective involved in the probe said.

They included two waybills numbers 155-02845312 and 155-02545443.

The former waybill was delivered to its warehouse at JKIA, indicated the consignment had 833 pieces of boxes but did not indicate its weight or state the product name.

“This was to help them evade taxes,” the police source noted.

Relaxed speeds 

On the other hand, air waybill no 155-02545443 destined for Kampala, Uganda but indicated Nairobi had 832 pieces of boxes did not also indicate its weight or state the product name.

The firm has been receiving large consignments of goods but is alleged to be splitting shipments leaving at least 20 percent for verification by authorities as they smuggle the rest.

Instead of individual business, paying substantial shipping costs, Rolling Cargo Company Limited is accused of mischievously opting for cargo consolidation (sometimes also called freight consolidation) which allows relaxed shipping speeds, putting items from multiple shippers into one shared shipping packaging)

Asked about the allegations, Mohamed Abdi Gulet, Rolling Cargo Company’s director was, however, cagey and only attributed the current probe to business rivalry.

“I can assure you this is a business rivalry between us and do not want to comment on it please,” he told People Daily.

Rogue State officials have been accused of colluding with unscrupulous traders to facilitate false declarations, denying KRA requisite taxes, a move said to have led to a loss of over sh100 billion in the recent past.

They are also said to allow in counterfeits into the market and through the transit route into the hinterland in exchange for fat weekly bribes that run as high as Sh52 million a week.

More on National