Press Center | Freight Shipping Logistics News
The racket, according to the Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association (Kifwa) and the Kenya Shippers Agents Association, is masterminded by a cartel that manipulates Kenya Ports Authority and Kenya Revenue Authority clearing systems, Kwatos and Simba, respectively.
Kenya Shippers Agents Association chief executive Fredrick Wahutu said there were cases of containers leaving the port without proper papers. Kifwa vice chairman Peter Mambembe said KRA and KPA officers colluded with clearing agents and attempts to draw the KRA’s attention to the racket had been ignored.
When the Simba system is not working, as happened last week, it becomes easy for containers to leave the port unaccounted for. Mr Joseph Nduati, KRA commissioner in charge of investigations, confirmed that four people had been arraigned in court over the racket. “We have identified those involved and we have been able to scuttle the racket,” he said.
Documents seen by Daily Nation for four containers destined for Uganda prove the existence of a cargo theft syndicate. The consignment arrived at Mombasa port on September 7 last year. After receiving the manifest, the appointed agent, who asked not to be named to protect his business, obtained a clearing document, known as T8 10, from the KRA Simba system on the same day.
The document was passed by a KRA officer normally identified by a code the same day. The delivery order from the shipping line was obtained and KPA charges were paid on September 8. Meanwhile, the cargo owner instructed the clearing agent to change the mode of transport from road to rail.
The agent says an application for the change was made to KPA and the change was approved and fed into KPA’s Kwatos system. Transport charges were paid to RVR on September 10 and the papers for loading the cargo handed over. However, the following morning, the containers were missing.
According to Mambembe, brokers in the industry identify importers and clearing agents handling their cargo and, in collusion with KRA agents, clear the cargo without paying duty. This way, they win the trust of clearing agents who surrender passwords that are later used to steal cargo, leaving the agents to take the blame.
Port police boss Ayub Gitonga said four containers stolen last month involved a clearing agent, KRA and KPA officers. “The problem was with KRA as their documents were forged,” Mr Gitonga said. On the four Ugandan containers, he said the matter had not been reported to port police.
PARASTATAL heads who signed the Mombasa port community charter risk being sacked if their agencies do not deliver on the contents of the new entity. The charter signed between the government and the private sector aims at improving the movement of cargo from the port into hinterland