from MARIA MACHARIA in Nairobi, Kenya
NAIROBI, (CAJ News) – THE Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) is intensifying a crackdown against unscrupulous elements smuggling sugar from neighbouring Uganda.
This is part of broader measures to detect and disrupt tax evasion schemes in East Africa’s largest economy.
Most recently, Kapenguria law court has convicted two suspects found guilty of smuggling sugar from Uganda.
Kapenguria Senior Principal Magistrate, Samuel Mutai, found Leonard Rotino and Collins Ignatious Steekamp guilty of smuggling Uganda-manufactured 700 bags of sugar each weighing 50kg.
Rotino, importer of the goods, was sentenced to serve five years imprisonment or pay a fine of half the dutiable value of the goods which is Kshs 1,575 million (US$14 298).
Steekamp, a truck driver, was sentenced to pay a fine of Ksh 50 000.
The 700 bags of brown sugar were also forfeited to the revenue authority.
KRA investigation officers, with the assistance of Directorate of Criminal Investigations officers, arrested the pair and intercepted a truck carrying the sugar without import documents.
Importation of sugar into Kenya is regulated by the Sugar Directorate under Agriculture and Food Authority making it a restricted item.
Unscrupulous importers avoid the strict customs processes at designated border points at Busia, Lwakhakha, Malaba and Suam. They smuggle in sugar from Uganda using ungazetted border points such as Karita and Lokiriama.
The commodity is sold to consumers within the counties of Lodwar, Trans Nzoia and West Pokot.
“This amounts to unfair trade practices and occasions massive revenue loss to the Government,” KRA stated.
– CAJ News