Story on diverted shipment of free ARVs to Kenya is fake, says KRA

File photo of Times Tower building that houses Kenya Revenue Authority. [Standard]

The Kenya Revenue Authority has refuted an online story claiming that ARVs meant for Kenya were shipped to West Africa after the taxman allegedly wanted to levy the donated drugs.

“KRA would like to inform the public that the story running on social media titled “ARVs meant for Kenyans shipped to West Africa after KRA demanded taxes on them” is not factual,” it posted on its Facebook page.

The post continues: “KRA wishes to clarify that it has not declined to clear any ARV supplies.”

There was a social media storm on Thursday when the claim broke out with tweeps accusing the James Mburu-led team of negligence.

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The discussion on the antiretroviral drugs topped trend charts on Twitter for a large part of the day.

A blog published the story accusing the government of standing on the way in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

The article alleged that the US government donated ARVs worth Sh3.3 billion to the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) in October last year.

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According to the story, KRA demanded to tax the donated drugs when they arrived at the Mombasa port on unspecified date in October last year.

As a consequence, the drugs were transferred to an unknown country in West Africa.

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“US Embassy in Kenya refused to pay the tax and asked KEMSA to do it. KEMSA refused and KRA stood its ground. The shipper went back to USAid, seeking further instructions on what to do with the drugs. Do you know what happened, the drugs were taken to another country,” the blog reported.

We contacted the US Embassy to ascertain if there was such a donation and they said that the department responsible is unavailable until Monday 6.

The Standard Digital also tried to reach USAID Kenya but they were unavailable.

This story will be updated with the responses from both the agencies as soon as we receive them.

This is part of an initiative of the Standard Group Plc to combat fake news, misinformation and disinformation.  If you have something you want us to fact-check you can reach us on: [email protected]

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Kenya Revenue AuthorityARVs taxedARVs shipped