City businessman behind car imports racket arrested at border
The Kenya Revenue Authority on Sunday announced that it had arrested a man believed to be the mastermind of a racket involving the fraudulent importation and registration of high-end vehicles without payment of taxes.
KRA’s deputy commissioner, marketing and communication, Grace Wandera, said the suspect, who was arrested at the Malaba border with an accomplice was attempting to leave the country to evade arrest.
“Directorate of Criminal Investigations and KRA detectives have been on the suspect’s trail in connection with the ongoing investigation into the irregular importation and registration of 121 vehicles,” said Ms Wandera.
Last week, the taxman cancelled the registration of 121 vehicles whose owners are said to have acquired illegal registration while evading tax in the process.
Among those listed for deregistration is Water and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa’s Range Rover — registered as an Isuzu truck — which had been held at the KRA’s Railways Club yard in Nairobi since June.
According to Ms Wandera, the suspects — whose names were withheld — were brought back to Nairobi to face charges and are expected to appear in court Monday.
As part of the ongoing crackdown, more vehicles have been impounded within Nairobi, including a high value Land Rover intercepted on Thursday and currently detained at KRA’s Embakasi yard.
Ms Wandera also said more arrests and prosecutions in connection with the racket are expected to follow in the coming weeks.
The taxman, who issued a notice in June calling for the 124 vehicles to be presented to the agency for clearance, made the move after their owners failed to respond.
In a joint public notice with the National Transport and Safety Authority published last Thursday, the KRA listed the 121 vehicles whose owners are suspected to have evaded duty amounting to Sh500 million and urged them to surrender their registration documents for cancellation.
“The authority has reasonable ground to believe the motor vehicle registration numbers have been obtained in error, fraudulently or in a manner contrary to the provisions of the Traffic Act,” read the joint notice.