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Kenyans importing vehicles that are more than eight years old can apply for a waiver before shipping them.
Kenyans importing vehicles that are more than eight years old can apply for a waiver before shipping them.

This, according to Industrialisation permanent secretary Karanja Kibicho, would save importers losses should their applications be rejected.

Their losses would either arise from detention of the vehicles at the port of Mombasa or the cost of re-shipping them to their countries of origin.

Those who qualify for the waiver are Kenyan citizens returning home and who have a personal attachment to the vehicles they have pre-owned for at least two years.

They must produce a logbook and a copy of their passports and get clearance from Interpol.

Vehicles to be used in national projects also qualify but importers must show evidence that once the job is completed, the vehicles would be returned to the country of origin.

The importer also needs a letter of tax exemption from the Finance ministry and proof of a security bond for reshipment of the vehicle.

Chairing a meeting attended by Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) officials in Nairobi, Mr Kibicho said that a committee had been established to deal with the waiver applications.

The technical waivers evaluation committee will be made up of officials from Kebs, the Private Sector Alliance, Kenya Revenue Authority and the Roads ministry.

Kebs managing director Joseph Koskey said the committee would sit twice a month.

“In the event of many applications, the committee will convene much earlier,” he said.

Mr Koskey said a number of cars had been at the port since last August when suspended Industrialisation minister Henry Kosgey stopped issuing letters of exemption.

This would not have arisen if the owners sent in their applications at least two weeks before shipment, he said.

Mr Kosgey, the Tinderet MP, was taken to court by the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission for allegedly misusing his powers to clear the importation of hundreds of cars, which are more than eight years old — the threshold put by the Kenya Revenue Authority.

If convicted, he could be jailed for up to 10 years.

On Thursday, the Kebs boss explained that if applications for the exemption on the eight-year rule were rejected, the importers would be required to reship the cars to the countries of origin and could not sell them as scrap to metal dealers.

“The owners could also meet the cost of crushing the vehicles at the port and that of disposal of the crushed units,” said Mr Koskey.