The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: KRA Awaits Interpol Word On Stolen Cars

Kenya Revenue Authority officials are still waiting for a confirmation from Interpol over the status of another consignment with three vehicles nabbed at port while on transit to Uganda from the UK.

The vehicles were intercepted by the customs officials last Saturday and sources say this could be part of the UK-Kenya-Uganda car theft syndicate operating through the port of Mombasa.

The interception of the three vehicles - BMW X6, Audi Quartal sports car and BMW320 convertible- comes as KRA and a shipping agent, Transec, grapples with re-exporting other three vehicles also nabbed under similar circumstances.

Fatma Yusuf, KRA southern region senior assistant commissioner in charge of communication, Yusuf said custom officials at Kilindini port established that the containers ferrying the vehicles had been wrongly declared.

The containers were declared to be having hot water kettles on transit from UK to Uganda. "This raised suspicion and our officers zeroed in on them," said Fatma.

Contrary to KRA's statement that the vehicles were headed to Uganda, the Star established that the consignee of the container was Nartib Opiyo from Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

A source privy to the investigations said the consignment was cleared by John Florence Maritime Services in Mombasa with the consignee indicated as Nartib Opiyo in Goma, DRC.

Fatma said that they could not reveal the value of the vehicles as the correspondence between Interpol and KRA had not been completed.

"We are still waiting for the information from Interpol on whether they are stolen vehicles or not so that we can inform you better but the manner in which they were shipped tells it all," said Fatma.

In efforts to burst the car theft syndicate at the port, KRA officials are now vigilant, working closely with Interpol to ensure that every container from country that export vehicles to and via Kenya are thoroughly scanned.

At the time we were going to press, we could not establish whether the initial three vehicles that were supposed to be re-exported to UK aboard the ship, MSC Chiara will leave the country.

The three vehicles, a Land Rover Discovery and two BMWs all valued at Sh20 million were to be shipped by Transec Limited acting under the power of attorney from UK tracking company, BR international.

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