Hides and skins impounded at the Mombasa Port in the past. FILE PHOTO | NMG The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has seized 25 containers loaded with hides and skins worth millions of shillings at the Mombasa port that would have denied the taxman Sh75 million in revenue.
The agency intercepted the consignment as the traders attempted to smuggle them out of the country by bribing KRA officers.
The Commissioner, Investigation and Enforcement Edward Karanja said the containers were among 50 others with hides and skins set aside for verification.
“We suspected that the containers were misdeclared as other goods to evade the payment of export duties,” he said.
“The government would have lost approximately Sh75 million in export duty should the culprits have managed to sneak the cargo out of the port for export,” he said.
KRA says unscrupulous traders stuff containers with hides and skins at local godowns in the absence of Customs officers. They then make false declarations of goods, local exporter, country of destination and weight.
“The goods declared in customs export documents are disguised as those that are exempted from export duties,” Dr Karanja said.
The taxman said three suspects were arrested trying to offer a Sh700,000 bribe during its investigations.
“KRA officers together with their counterparts from Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) laid a trap and were able to arrest three suspects who had offered a bribe of Sh700,000,” he said.
The taxman says it has tightened its noose on a tax evasion racket that exports locally sourced hides and skins without paying duty.
“I encourage the public to undertake legitimate and clean business. KRA has an elaborate intelligence network to detect, disrupt and deter such tax evasion schemes to create a level playing field for all,” he said.Earlier this year, an exporter was charged with Sh1.7 million tax evasion after KRA seized a 40-foot container with hides and skins falsely declared as transit cargo from South Sudan to Nigeria.Exportation of hides and skins is restricted and thus attracts an export duty.