NAIROBI, August 28 – Police are investigating a syndicate involving officials at the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) who allegedly collude with brokers to register vehicles twice.
This follows the detention of two brand new matatus, which were found with matching registration numbers.
One of the matatus has been operating in Mombasa, while the other was operating in Nairobi.
Flying Squad boss Musa Yego told Capital News that they launched investigations when the owner of one of the vehicles reported having spotted another van with a similar registration number.
“We later received information that the vehicle had been spotted in Mombasa. Our officers were able to trace the owner, who was arrested and ordered to drive to Nairobi,” Yego said.
The owner of the other vehicle that has been operating in Nairobi was also ordered to drive to the Flying Squad headquarters in Pangani, where they both recorded statements.
Yego said a search at the Registrar of Motor vehicles office at KRA has revealed that a dealer had used genuine documents for one of the vehicles to obtain a duplicate registration number, claiming that he had lost the original.
“He then used the duplicate numbers to register the second matatu, which is believed to have been stolen,” he said.
Detectives explained on Thursday that they had established the vehicle with the duplicated registration numbers has no original log book.
A man who claimed to own the vehicle only produced a duplicate log book, matching that of the first vehicle.
Its engine and chassis numbers had been tempered with to correspond with the log book replica.
“This is a clear case of robbery. We strongly believe that this vehicle was stolen because it does not have a log book and the serial numbers are all erased,” Yego said.
The owner of the vehicle with original number plate and log book was interrogated and later allowed to drive away, when police certified his ownership.
Yego narrated that they had established beyond reasonable doubt that he was the genuine owner of the vehicle.
The second vehicle was detained as police sought the other accomplices who are still at large.
Yego said the syndicate is wide and could involve officials at the KRA.
“We are looking for all those involved. We are pursuing very crucial leads and we hope to arrest all of them,” he said.
Last month, another two matatus were detained in Meru and Nairobi under similar circumstances.
One of the vehicles with genuine records was released to the owner but the second one is still being detained at the Flying Squad parking yard, with a case pending in court.
Yego said that they’ve handled six such cases since the beginning of the year.
“It appears it is a thriving business. Criminals are targeting new vehicles on transit, which they register using duplicate number plates obtained fraudulently,” he revealed.