NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 1 – The firm that operated the controversial apron buses at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) says the vehicles were legally imported, dismissing claims by the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) that they were smuggled into the country.
In a statement, Relief and Mission Logistics said they followed the laid down procedures of importing the buses after getting exemption clearance from the Kenya Revenue Authority.
“Relief and Mission Logistics wishes to refute claims reported in the media about the apron buses provided by the firm. KRA provided clearance and exemption for the buses vide the attached letter under 5th schedule Part B, item 1(b) (IV) of the EAC Customs Management Act,” he stated.
The company is now seeking audience with the Parliamentary Committee on Transport to clarify the matter after KAA’s Director Kevin Kihara made the accusations.
A letter from the Kenya Revenue Authority revealed that an application was made by the firm seeking duty exemption for one of the buses.
“We have received an application letter dated 18th September, 2014 from Ms Relief & Mission Logistics seeking exemption of duty on an apron bus they are importing for the sole use at JKIA. Ms Relief and Mission is a contracted passenger transfer services provider by the Kenya Airports Authority vide letter Ref; KAA /JKIA/752 dated 9th May, 2014,” the letter stated.
The letter further indicated that the bus was cleared to be imported duty free.
“They are importing an apron bus for conveyance of passengers at the runway. Details of the consignment are contained in invoice No:- 290028733 dated 20th June, 2014. You are therefore advised to allow clearance of the equipment on duty free basis in accordance with the provisions of the 5th schedule Part B item 1 (b) (iv) of the East African Community Customs Management Act, 2004,” it stated.
The saga has cost three top KAA officials their jobs, including Lucy Mbugua who was sacked from the Managing Director’s post.
The contract for the buses operation at the airport was cancelled last week by KAA Chairman David Kimaiyo.
On Tuesday, Kihara said the concessionaire did not pay the requisite duty to the Kenya Revenue Authority.
Kihara said one shuttle bus made by Portuguese manufacturer – Cobus Industries – costs about Sh45 million, according to copies of invoices and Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) tax receipts.
He told the Parliamentary Transport Committee, that the sacked MD did not also get approval of the board in undertaking the project.
KAA Chairman David Kimaiyo told the committee that the concessionaire – Relief & Mission Logistics – had invoiced the authority some Sh42 million.