KRA led the Multi-Agency team on illicit trade in destroying illicit excisable products with a market value of over Sh1.5 billion
The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) led the Multi-Agency team on illicit trade in destroying illicit excisable products with a market value of over Sh1.5 billion at Stoni Athi, Kajiado County.
The products seized from various traders in Nairobi and its environs, were being sold in contravention of various regulations as provided for under the Excise Duty Act and could have led to a loss of over Sh400 million in tax revenues.
Among the products destroyed, include 25,070 bottles of beer, 102,004 bottles of wine spirits packed in 82,538 bottles and 104,786 bottles of juice.
Also destroyed was an assortment of machinery used in the production of some goods, 93, 670 bottles of water, 60, 000 fake excise stamps and 6, 450 packets of cigarettes. Other products which include cigars, cigarillos and shisha packed in 50 packets, were also destroyed in the exercise.
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KRA impounded the products in partnership with the various government agencies that constitute the multiagency team charged with combating illicit trade and contraband goods, established by the President in May, 2018.
Among government agencies in the multiagency team are; Office of the President, Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), Anti-Counterfeit Agency (ACA), NACADA and the Department of Public Health.
The destruction exercise marks a significant milestone in the fight against illicit trade and contraband goods in the country. It underscores the government’s determination and keenness to annihilate the vices of illicit trade and contraband goods.
The two vices not only pose unfair competition to legally trading products in the market but also pose potential health hazards to unsuspecting consumers. Illicit trade and contraband goods are also detrimental to the economic muscle of any country as they lead to massive loss of government revenue through tax evasion.
KRA continues to implement key strategic measures geared towards combating illicit trade and contraband goods in the excisable goods sector, to not only protect genuine traders and consumers but also seal revenue loopholes poked by unscrupulous traders.
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Key among the strategies is to leverage on state-of-the-art technologies such as the Excisable Goods Management System (EGMS). EGMS has yielded remarkable results in the alcoholic drinks sector and on tobacco products since its implementation in 2013.
This forms the basis of KRA’s inspiration to extend EGMS to non-alcoholic beverages and cosmetics, products which have in the recent past become a soft target by the lords of illicit trade thereby leading to massive loss of government revenue.
In addition, KRA has decentralised the operations of the Enforcement Division, which is tasked with market surveillance to ensure that the trade involving excisable goods is conducted within the confines of the law. More teams have been dispatched on the ground countrywide to step up combat against the vice.
The tax agency is also leveraging on intelligence gathering in combating illicit trade and contraband goods in the excisable goods sector. This tool has been instrumental in getting to the deepest end of illicit trade across the country.
KRA appeals to members of the public to join hands with the government in combating illicit trade and contraband goods through provision of crucial intelligence. The information given, as it has been the case in the past, will be treated with utmost confidentiality.
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KRA also wishes to issue a stern warning to perpetrators of illicit trade and unscrupulous traders dealing in contraband goods that their days are numbered. Perpetrators are therefore urged to change their business models or face the law.
Apart from revenue collection, the tax agency’s mandate extends to trade facilitation. KRA is ready to facilitate all law-abiding traders in the excisable goods sector and has no intention of hurting any business.
The illicit products were confiscated in the course of the last and prior financial years.