The government will soon go broke if a trend persists in which it is losing billions of shillings a month in import tax following an elaborate evil scheme that involves crooked Kenya Revenue Authority officers, unscrupulous clearing agents and dishonest bank workers.
According to sources, it all starts at the port of Mombasa where clearing agents collude with KRA officers to have goods on transit to neighbouring countries dumped in the local market.
To defeat the dumping, the government introduced a tracking system to ensure goods on transit are transported to their destination outside the country with a control centre at KRA. With the collusion of KRA offices however, the tracking device seals on the lorries are broken between Kilindini port and Mariakani and the electronic gadget that emits the signal for trackers to trace the lorry put in a small car that is driven all the way to Malaba border point to dupe the control room that the truck with the goods in question has exited Kenya. Meanwhile, the truck is driven to either Industrial Area in Nairobi or Eastleigh where the goods mainly tyres, cloths, alcohol and electronic goods are offloaded.
Sometimes, it is said, one car will carry as many as 10 tracking gadgets to Malaba where KRA officers waiting for it do the necessary paperwork and the vehicle returns to Mombasa to pick other gadgets. It is said that the tracking service providers specifically Navisat, Borderless and SGS who fit the tracking gadgets at Kilindini are in the game because they also have control rooms in their offices and would know when the gadget seal has been tampered with in the process of transferring it from the lorry to the car.
Apart from diverting transit goods to the local market, KRA offices are also colluding with banks to rob the government of billions of import tax. In conjunction with clearing agents, staff at National Bank and Cooperative Bank which are contracted by KRA to collect the import tax from importers manipulate computer systems so that it appears like an importer has paid KRA duy yet nothing has been paid. This, it is said, involves the IT people at the bank and at KRA who work in cahoots with the clearing agents. Once the importer has logged in his import declaration form on the Simba System, the IT men at the bank will take over and they will show in the system that the importer has paid, say Sh1.2m while in actual fact he has only paid Sh500,000 with no receipt that goes to the pockets of the bank’s IT men and the IT men at KRA.
The importers who opt for this fraudulent route sell their goods at low price because they have not paid duty anyway while those who follow the law sell their goods at higher price because of costs incurred through tax.
Those in the know say that matters at KRA started going to the dogs after the departure of former KRA commissioner Michael Waweru. Waweru, it is said, had informers all over and would pop in at any office. But today, it is said, even the vital documents processing centre at Times Tower where in Waweru’s time mobile phones were prohibited, officers carry phones in to do dirty deals with people outside.
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