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KRA ups war on counterfeits, impounds alcoholic drinks

By Moses Michira | Published Wed, May 16th 2018 at 14:03, Updated May 16th 2018 at 14:07 GMT +3
Kenya Revenue Authority Headquarters in Nairobi

NAIROBI, KENYA: The Kenya Revenue Authority has impounded counterfeit alcoholic drinks with an estimated market value of Sh300 million.

Most of the drinks were targeted at the low-income market segment.

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KRA Commissioner for Domestic Taxes Benson Korongo yesterday oversaw the destruction of the drinks at the Ruai sewerage treatment plant in Nairobi. He said 390 culprits involved in the manufacturing, distribution and sale of the drinks had been arrested and charged in court since January.

Charged in court

“We are impounding the equipment used in the manufacturing,” said Mr Korongo.

Some of the drinks, he said, were intercepted while in transit while others were picked up from stockists and retailers. Besides ensuring quality for consumers, KRA said it was keen on eradicating counterfeit alcoholic drinks because they cost it billions of shillings in lost revenue.

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“It is not just about taxes here; it is also ensuring that Kenyans get genuine, hygienic and safe drinks,” said Korongo.

Spirits, which made up the bulk of the drinks, are taxed at Sh200 a litre as excise duty.

The revenue collection agency has projected that excise duty from wines and spirits alone will hit Sh200 billion in the current financial year.

Revenue collection

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Growing consumption of spirits has informed the rise in counterfeit alcoholic products in the market, a situation exacerbated by the steep taxation regime.

Korongo said 40 per cent of the drinks in the market were not genuine or had fake excise duty stamps affixed to them.

Ethanol, the main input in the manufacture of the alcoholic drinks, is often smuggled into the country from Tanzania.