Detectives investigating the tax evasion saga may have unearthed a spare parts importation racket involving the use of dead people’s documents.
A whistleblower recorded fresh statements over a week ago on alleged fraudulent importation and registration of trucks.
Najma Abdalla on May 6 presented statements to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, Kenya Revenue Authority, Ministry of Information and the Kenya Bureau of Standards.
Undercover DCI detectives probing rogue businessmen have arrested four suspects over three days after 75 others were interdicted in Nairobi in connection with fraud.
The detectives spent a week in Mombasa probing consignments at prominent container freight stations whose goods are said to have been procured fraudulently.
The probe ended with the arrest of four KRA officials believed to have aided shoddy deals. Three were arrested over the weekend and one on Monday
“What I can tell you is that the officers have been around and have left this morning with four suspects. I don’t have more information,” an investigating officer based in Mombasa who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter said on Tuesday.
Efforts to get more information on the arrests and the probe were futile as authorities dodged questions, saying the investigations were being conducted in the Nairobi jurisdiction.
Last week Abdalla, in an affidavit, sought to establish why one of the key suspects who had been interrogated was released without being charged. She questioned why his passport was returned to him, enabling him to flee the country.
Abdalla accused an Egyptian importer of being involved in the importation of spare parts, which he re-assembles into trucks that he sells in the Kenyan market.
While Abdalla complained of delays in investigations in Mombasa, Uwezo Omati Mwakituko got a shocker when police allegedly claimed his late sister Mariam Omar Mwakituko did not ‘own’ any property and that he had no case.
Mariam died on October 29, 2014, but her documents were used by rogue businessmen to buy and import vehicles and spare parts.
Her brother had engaged George Kithi Advocates and filed an affidavit to help him access information at KRA, National Transport and Safety Authority, and phone records in his quest for justice.
“I have reasons to believe there are unknown people that have been using my late sister’s documents to carry out business illegally. I learnt from KRA records that she owns a matatu, which she did not have prior to her demise,” Uwezo said in the affidavit dated March 4.
Three more trucks were registered under his sister’s phone number. At the NTSA it was found that the number linked to the vehicles—KBT 875X, KBT 290U, KBR 892P—was active when it was dialled.
Abdalla, in fresh complaints, said she had volunteered crucial information on March 6 to the DCI, revolving around the illegal trade that led to the police conducting a raid at a vehicle yard in Thika town along the Thika-Garissa highway and Kayole, where the spare parts are assembled.
“Police discovered that 13 such trucks were on site. I am aware that the Kayole car yard is owned by a business partner of the Egyptian,” she said.
The Star in March published a story about 15 containers with 45 truckloads of spare parts seized in Mombasa. They appeared to have been imported through the Mombasa port and passed off as spare parts from Hong Kong.
“The suspect was advised to get a court order to secure the release of his passport from police custody; a task which he has since completed and left the jurisdiction. At the yard, we discovered just nine trucks were left,” Abdalla added.
She said her informer learnt that the yard is still operational as more trucks were being assembled.
Abdalla said the trucks once assembled, are registered fraudulently with altered Customs importation documents indicating duty has been duly paid.
The reality, she said, is the vehicle engine capacity, tare weight, load weight and chassis numbers that appear in the government database do not match those of the trucks.
It is believed that more than 5,000 such trucks have been sold in the Kenyan market, despite being 15 to 20 years old.
“I can confirm we supplied the relevant offices with the statement and relevant annexures, they were received by different secretaries, and we expect feedback soon,” Orare told the Star.
Detectives have since Friday arrested KRA for allegedly facilitating the fraudulent clearance of cargo, undervaluing imports, or making fake export entries for manufacturing companies to assist in the dumping of export goods locally.
DCI boss George Kinoti said they are investigating money laundering and tax evasion.
(Edited by R.Wamochie)