Why Cargo Released at President Uhuru’s Directive Still Lying at Embakasi Depot


Over the past few months, clearance of cargo at the Port of Mombasa and at the Inland Container Depot in Nairobi has been a nightmare for shippers and traders.

The situation has been mainly blamed on elaborate mechanisms put in place to tame the influx of counterfeits that have been flooding the country. The high number of agencies working at the port, and tasked with inspecting goods entering the country have been taking too long to perform their assigned roles.

An event which forced President Uhuru Kenyatta to order for their clearance, amid claims that some large traders tried to ride on the reprieve.

However, two months down the line, sources within the port intimated that about 99 containers had no owners claiming them.

With a few others having pending tax bills, the goods have been kept for longer at the facility where they are likely to be auctioned.

President Uhuru Kenyatta
President Uhuru Kenyatta when he made an impromptu visit at the Inland Container Depot in Nairobi last week. He gave an order that clearance of imported goods be streamed and speeded up. PHOTO | PSCU

Traders, who have since held two meetings with the Kenya Revenue Authority, were given up to August 2 to clear them or they be auctioned, according to some of them, who did not want to speak on the record for fear of reprisal.

“We met on Tuesday and Friday and it looks like the agreement is that the process be concluded.

“Some large importers tried to take advantage of the presidential directive, especially in Mombasa, and this made things a bit more complicated.

“Those whose containers remain unattended may lose them through auction as the mystery of who they are and whatever they had imported lingers on,” the source said.

On Friday, KRA indicated in a media invite that it had agreed with the Kenya Bureau of Standards and the Small Scale Traders to “sign off the process”.

The mystery of who imported the uncleared cargo became even deeper following earlier claims that some of the traders had declared the cargo as destined for Uganda in a possible tax evasion camouflage under cargo consolidation.

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