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How Custom Officials At Kilindini Fleece Importers By Delaying Clearance

The rot at Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) is yet to be cleared, with new information reaching Kahawa Tungu indicating that Kilindini Harbour is the home of rogue custom officials.

This desk learns that the officials deliberately delay clearance of goods in a bid to coerce importers to part with bribes.

“Documents lodged at the DPC are taking too long to be processed yet the exercise is simple and can take only a few hours. The unnecessary delay is meant to blackmail clients and importers to offer bribes through brokers who pass the loot to senior customs officers,” claimed a clearing agent.

Those who do not play by the ‘rules’ suffer the consequences of paying hefty storage  and demurrage fees.

The syndicate has spread its wings to Nairobi at the Inland Container Depot in Embakasi, where top officials are said to lead the league.

The vice extends to the Data Processing Centre (DPC) and the verification section.

“It unnecessarily takes long to verify consignments and release them. They use this delaying tactic to coerce importers to give bribes. Customs officials at Toyo Container Terminal work the way they want including reporting to work at their own time complicating matters,” says an importer who spoke to a weekly publication.

According to the publication, a senior customs officer at Toyo reportedly uses brokers to solicit for bribes on his behalf from importers.

He brags of being untouchable and well connected at Times Tower. He was transferred for just two months before he fought his way back to the container terminal confirming that he is indeed untouchable.

This desk is yet to confirm whether is is one of those arrested by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) in the purge against corruption.

Read: Wanted! DCI Releases List Of 48 KRA Officials Wanted Over Graft

Last week, 75 KRA employees were interdicted for allegedly abetting tax evasion and engaging in related fraudulent deals.

The employees, are accused of facilitating irregular cargo clearance, fraudulent amendment of tax returns so as to help taxpayers evade taxes and irregular issuance of tax compliance certificates.

In a statement on Friday, the taxman noted 61 of those interdicted are from domestic tax department, while 14 are from customs and boarder control.

Thirty-eight were arrested on Friday and put in police custody for 14 more days to allow police to complete investigations.

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Written by Francis Muli

Follow me on Twitter @francismuli_. Email francis@kahawatungu.com

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