Two KRA officials in court for fraudulent importation of high end vehicles

September 19, 2016
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Elijah Ojuma Girimani and George Onyango Opanga have been accused of clearing motor vehicles which import duty amounting to over Sh5 million was not paid./FILE
Elijah Ojuma Girimani and George Onyango Opanga have been accused of clearing motor vehicles which import duty amounting to over Sh5 million was not paid./FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 19 – Two Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) officials were on Monday arraigned in court for fraudulent importation and registration of high end vehicles without paying taxes.

Elijah Ojuma Girimani and George Onyango Opanga have been accused of clearing motor vehicles which import duty amounting to over Sh5 million was not paid.

They were also accused of giving false declarations to KRA to procure various motor vehicles.

They are also facing charge of conspiracy to contravene provisions of East Africa Community Customs Management Act.

They appeared before Nairobi Chief Magistrate Daniel Ogembo where they denied over 11 tax evasion counts.

They have been remanded in custody for five days pending completion of investigations.

The charge stated that on 16th July, at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport Customs Warehouse in Nairobi, jointly with others not before court conspired to evade payment of import duty amounting to Sh6.5 million.

On this count, Opanga was charged with others before court for knowingly and fraudulently interfering with KRA online system to reflect that import duty had been paid for the said Range Rover vehicle.

On his part Girimani is accused of procuring three uncustomed motor vehicles; Range Rover registration KCH 001T, Land Cruiser registration KCH 008T and Land Cruiser registration KCH 400T, whose combined taxes of Sh7, 661, 861 had not been paid among other charges.

The matter will be mentioned on Friday.

KRA in May 2016 issued a recall notice for 124 high-end vehicles to facilitate a review of their tax status.

The vehicles, comprising Sports Utility Vehicles and related luxury units, were part of investigation covering transit vehicles suspected to have been diverted to the local market.

The vehicles, which are described as having outstanding tax issues, are suspected to have initially been declared as transit cargo but later dumped in the local market.

Following the publishing of the recall notice, owners of the vehicles were asked to present the vehicles together with the original ownership, transfer and importation documents to the Commissioner of Investigation and Enforcement.

However only 12 luxury vehicles from the 124 they recalled in May suspected to have been imported illegally were surrendered to the Authority.

Last week the National Transport Safety Authority (NTSA) and the KRA deregistered 121 vehicles for failing to pay the requisite duty.

KRA indicated that the vehicles’ registration was obtained fraudulently, or in a manner contrary to the provisions of the Traffic Act.

Water Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa’s Range Rover was among them.

In a statement in the local dailies, the National Transport Safety Authority (NTSA) and the KRA indicated that the vehicles’ registration was obtained fraudulently, or in a manner contrary to the provisions of the Traffic Act.

Owners of the vehicles are now required to surrender the registration numbers and Logbooks to the KRA for cancellation.

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