, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 3 – Industrialisation Minister Henry Kosgey was on Wednesday questioned by officers of the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission, over importation of vehicles that exceed the accepted eight-year limit.
Speaking after being grilled for three hours, Mr Kosgey refuted claims that he violated any rules.
He said he had been summoned to verify importation document relating to 67 vehicles which had been intercepted by the anti-graft body.
He told journalists he only went there to verify the list of cars under question and not his possible wrongdoing. "I don’t think they have a problem with that but that’s something you need to ask them… I cannot answer for KACC, I can only answer what I came to do and that is to verify the list."
The minister arrived at the commission’s Integrity Centre offices shortly after 11am.
Sources said he was required to explain why a waiver was given for more than 100 vehicles to be imported into Kenya, when the year of manufacture was beyond the set limit.
Kenya has banned the importation of motor vehicles manufactured eight or more years before the date of importation.
The Standards Act however allows the Industrialisation Minister to allow vehicles older that are over eight years old to be brought into the country on the advice of the board of the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS).
This is the provision that allows Kenyans working abroad to import vehicles they were using.
The Kenya Revenue Authority ordered the vehicles in question detained because of documentation queries.
It suspected that importers were taking advantage of loopholes in the law, such as those permitting returning Kenyans to come home with their cars.
On Tuesday the minister was taken to task in Parliament to explain how 196 individuals brought in motor vehicles that exceed the requirements, and the identity of the importers.
MPs wondered why a huge number of cars were allowed in within a short period, arguing that there was indication corruption may have led to the unusual waiver.
Parliament has directed the minister to furnish the House with a comprehensive answer on the importation of the vehicles whose date of manufacture is against requirements of the Standards Act.
The Industrialisation Minister had tabled a list of the vehicles that had been allowed to be imported by Kenyans returning from work abroad, but MPs queried the list saying that some information had been excluded.
The matter became controversial after Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni tabled a letter signed by the Kenya Bureau of Standards showing that 454 vehicles had been exempted in the last six months.
Mr Kioni said 85 of the applicants’ passport numbers were missing while 125 had not indicated when they left Kenya. Another 137 had not indicated their date of return.
MPs rejected the list and accused the Mr Kosgey of abusing the powers of his office by allowing vehicles contrary to the Act.