MOMBASA, Kenya, Aug 13 – The Kenya Ports Authority is currently facing delays and congestion of cargo after stringent measures were introduced to curb corruption.
Hundreds of long distance drivers remain stranded inside and outside the port waiting to load their cargo and are now protesting against the delays.
The Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association (KIFWA) said transit cargo for neighbouring countries Uganda and South Sudan is pilling at the port.
The Kenya Revenue Authority has also suspended staff involved in a tax evasion scandal hence leading to more delays within the port.
According to KIFWA, Kenya Revenue Authority hired staff not familiar with newly introduced clearing procedures aimed at reducing cases of graft at the port hence affecting smooth off take of cargo at the port.
KRA Chief Manager Operation Joseph Kaguru confirmed that they are facing challenges but the matter is being addressed.
“We cannot continue working with the same staff accused of colluding with cartels to sneak out containers, they were suspended and the investigations are still going on,” said Kaguru.
Kaguru said the new measures are meant to mitigate the risks.
KIFWA secretary Bernard Simiyu said many of the transporters have lost millions of shillings due to delays.
Recently KRA said they were investigating how 104 containers worth Sh100 million were removed from the port between June and July 2016 without payment of tax.
At least 10 KRA and KPA employees have been charged with conspiracy to evade payment of Sh20 million in taxes at Mombasa.
KRA Commissioner General John Njiraini, in a statement, said preliminary findings on the investigations point to collusion between various players.
The taxman is narrowing its probe on importers, their clearing agents, transport service providers, KPA and KRA staff involved in cargo release operations.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has ordered the new the Kenya Ports Authority boss Catherine Mturi-Wairi to crack down on the cartels at the port.
Kenyatta said President the MD should restore the reputation of the port, which has consistently been accused of corruption and being a conduit for trafficking.