, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 5 – Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho has now taken the battle over his shut Container Freight Stations to the doorstep of Kenya Revenue Authority boss John Njiraini with threats to file contempt charges against him.
Joho’s lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi wrote to Njiraini on Friday giving him a 24-hour ultimatum to re-open the stations failure to which he will face contempt charges.
Abdullahi pointed out that already a Mombasa court had issued orders allowing the two CFSs to continue operating but complains that the authority continues to disobey the directive.
“To utter shock and dismay, despite having full actual and constructive knowledge of the court order, you have continuously disobeyed the said order by denying our client to resume operations as directed by the court,” the lawyer says.
Governor Joho accuses the authority of using police to further what he terms as thoughtless actions by KRA officers although police had earlier said that the CFSs were still under investigation.
“To achieve your schemes, you have co-opted the police forces who on 2nd February 2016 a day our clients had resumed operations stormed the premises heavily armed and forced them to shut down unceremoniously,” he pointed out.
He cautions that Njiraini will personally face the consequence if KRA officers continue disregarding the court order.
“As a senior officer, you are enjoined to uphold the Constitution and respect for court orders is one such fundamental tenet that must be upheld at all material times by everybody including yourself and all your officers,” Abdullahi cautioned.
He urges the Commissioner General to appeal the court order “if you are unhappy, you have the opportunity of still going back to that court, for the court’s decision to be vacated.”
He said, the current trend “was an unacceptable principle in the rule of law and we shall hold you personally liable.”
The matter has since attracted the attention from political leaders of either side, with the Opposition accusing Government of settling political scores with the move.
The authority however vowed to continue with the crackdown on rogue container firms abetting tax evasion.
In a statement, the authority said the move was intended to streamline operations of Container Freight Stations and urged politics to be kept out of it.
“KRA reiterates its determination to firmly enforce customs regulations as part of a broader campaign to seal revenue leakages,” KRA stated.
The authority further responded to the row that ensued after it ordered for suspension of licenses of the two freight companies belonging to the family of Joho.
According to KRA, Joho’s two companies, Autoport and Portside Container Freight Stations abetted tax evasion.
“We note however that recent incidents and investigations in the progress have raised serious concerns over the likely involvement of some CFSs in actions that abet tax evasion. Such acts include facilitating the importation of contraband goods including sugar, rice, ethanol, and other highly sought after commodities,” KRA explained.
The authority explained that apart from evading taxes, such actions were also undermining national development interventions of promoting local entrepreneurship.