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Kenya & UK unite to tackle illicit goods at port

Kenyan and British authorities are working together to nab criminal networks in East Africa and beyond, especially those at the Port of Mombasa using the facility as a conduit for illicit trade.

The two governments are rooting out illicit trade at the gateway to East Africa and safeguard a level playing field for legitimate businesses.

In a joint statement from Commissioner-General of the Kenya Revenue Authority, Director of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and Managing Director of the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), the agencies said they would continue collaborating with international partners in detecting, disrupting and deterring all forms of illicit trade at the Port of Mombasa.

The multi-agency security team working at the Port of Mombasa has disrupted an international criminal syndicate that has been smuggling into the country vehicles stolen overseas through an intensified surveillance and enforcement measures at all ports of entry and exits.

The coordination between these agencies has led to the seizure of illicit goods including 21 high-end motor vehicles that the syndicate had stolen from the UK and attempted to sneak into the country through the port.

Intelligence shared among the agencies indicated that the four vehicles estimated to be worth Sh40 million had been stolen from Berkshire, London, and Oxfordshire in UK between November 11, 2018 and February 7, this year and shipped into the country.

“The vehicles, were meant for sale in the East African market. The Kenyan authorities involved in the interception of the goods says the vehicles had been declared as household items while others had been declared as cloned chassis numbers to hide their stolen status,” the agencies said in a statement read by KRA Acting Commissioner, Intelligence and Strategic Operations Dr Terra Saidimu.

The authorities traced to Kenya the top-of-the-range motor vehicles after they were confirmed stolen in the Interpol’s motor vehicles database.

Fabricated ingress clearance documents showed the vehicles were destined to the neighbouring country of Uganda but officials manning the custom section suspected that the high-end vehicles were likely to be diverted into the Kenyan market.

The four vehicles were last week on Friday shipped back to their owners in the UK, who had reported to the authority the theft of their vehicles.

The four vehicles — including a black Range Rover Vogue Autobiography, a white Mercedes Benz GLE and two black Range Rover Sports Autobiography — were loaded onto a truck and transported to a vessel ready for shipment to the UK.

The multiagency team has also attributed the dismantling of the illicit trade to information and intelligence sharing with International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) and the UK’s National Crime Agency.

British High Commissioner to Kenya, Ms Jane Marriot, said the UK was actively involved in monitoring, coordinating and liaising with the KRA to support the re-shipment of the four vehicles to their owners in the UK.

Kenya Ports Authority MD Daniel Manduku (second left) , Kenya Revenue Authority Southern Region Co-ordinator Nicholas Kinoti (second right), KRA Acting Commissioner for Intelligence and Strategic Operations Terra Saidimu (right) and Waqar Qureshi , the First Secretary at the British High Commission,, oversee the reshipping last Friday of a white Mercedes Benz, one of the high-end vehicles stolen from UK.
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