Taxman turns attention to car bazaars in fight against illegal car imports


Taxman turns attention to car bazaars in fight against illegal car imports

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has expanded the scope of its probe into tax evasion on car imports to focus on car bazaars across the country.

This comes barely two days after the taxman had issued a recall notice on 124 high end cars with suspicious tax status.

The crackdown comes in the wake of rising cases of cars destined for other countries finding their way into the local market, sidestepping the revenue authority. KRA recently impounded three Range Rovers worth Sh28 million concealed in a cargo container, which had been declared as household goods while on transit to Uganda.

The luxury vehicles had a combined tax claim of Sh4.8 million.

The crackdown covering car bazaars will be undertaken through a series of sting operations geared at tracing motor vehicles that may have been previously marked as transit vehicles.

KRA has in the past said that the uncontrolled mushrooming of car bazaars in the country had fuelled the illegal importation of stolen vehicles to meet demand.

“The crackdown covering car bazaars will be undertaken through a series of sting operations geared at tracing motor vehicles that may have been previously marked as transit vehicles,” KRA said in a statement to newsrooms.

The National Transport and Safety Authority has proposed the freeze on registration of car bazaars while also calling for regular inspections to authenticate

On Monday, KRA visited car bazaars in six locations issuing seizure notices for units suspected to be non compliant. The taxman however failed to give a number of the vehicles found to be non compliant.

Last week British publication, the Economist in an article claimed that the port of Mombasa had become a conduit for cars stolen in the United Kingdom.  The magazine claims that an estimated 79,000 cars stolen in the U.K found their way to East Africa through the ports of Mombasa, Boma in Congo and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.

“We are conscious that some of these vehicles may have already been sold to innocent unsuspecting customers and we are asking them to co-operate with our officers in the on-going investigations,” KRA said.

Owners of the 124 cars on the list issued by the Kenya Revenue Authority are on Tuesday expected to present themselves at the Kenya Railways Club for verification. The owners are expected to provide the original ownership, transfer and importation documents.

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Story By Michael Karanja
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