Uganda to Auction Cars in Mombasa Over Clearance

The Uganda Revenue Authority is set to auction hundreds of imported vehicles destined for Uganda and now abandoned in various warehouses in Mombasa.

The cars have exceeded their statutory clearance and warehousing period as per East African Community Customs Management Act 2004, which is within 30 days from the date auction bid was placed, and after failing to pay all the requisite taxes, fees, penalties, fines and charges that will have accrued.

The bid process ended early this month and already a number of them have been auctioned.

Charles Busomba, a URA official in Mombasa said the auction is ongoing and a number of vehicles will be auctioned to decongest warehouses and avoid accruing more storage charges.

"Due process was followed and we placed public notices in different media and in our government website to attract bidders. We have auctioned scores of them and hope the remaining to be sold in the next few days," said Mr Busomba.

In the public notice which was placed in the URA website, buyers were notified of different vehicles, trucks and trailers which were ready for sale in different container freight stations and the prices were exclusive of storage fees, payable in Kenya shillings.

The storage charges are based on cubic metres where cars up to 15 cubic metres will attract Ksh25,000 ($250) while those above that attract a deposit of Ksh35,000 ($350).

Uganda is a major user of the port of Mombasa compared with other East African countries with latest reports showing the country imports an average of 2,500 used cars per month.

Though the auction is happening in Mombasa, the bid has not attracted many Kenyan buyers because the Ugandan law on importation of used cars permits vehicles older than eight years which is illegal in Kenya. But to fight environmental pollution and help reduce road accidents, last year, Uganda passed legislation banning the importation of vehicles older than 15 years and removed an environmental levy on cars below eight years to encourage the importation of newer cars.

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