Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has seized five high-end motor vehicles and two motorbikes at Mombasa port which are suspected to have been stolen from the United Kingdom.
The vehicles which had been declared as being on transit to Uganda were intercepted following a joint operation between Kenya, UK and the international police agents.
The vehicles, a Range Rover Vogue, Range Rover Sport, BMW 530D, BMW x5, Volkswagen Tiguan, and two motorcycles were seized after a verification process that involved KRA Customs enforcement team, international police (Interpol), Metropolitan Police from UK and officers from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations among other security agencies.
Mr Kenneth Ochala, KRA regional coordinator at the southern region, confirmed the seizure.
Ochala said the First Secretary at the British High Commission to Kenya, Mr Waqar Qureshi, witnessed the verification exercise at Focus Container Freight Station in Mombasa where the suspect containers were being held.
He said the Range Rover Vogue, Range Rover Sport, BMW 530 D model and the two motorcycles were packed in one container, while the BMW x5 and the Volkswagen Tiguan were in a different container.
He said Mr Qureshi confirmed that all the vehicles had been stolen from owners in the United Kingdom, and the UK will work with its Kenyan counterparts to immediately re-ship the vehicles back to their owners.
“The bill of lading for the container with the three vehicles and two motor-cycles indicated that the cargo was shipped from the Port of Jabel Ali, and the consignor was Jason Abayomi from London,” said Ochala
The consignor’s address was flat 15, 145 Seymour Place Mary Lesbone, while the consignee was listed as Kwizera Gilbert Jimmy of Entebb Kampala.
Shipping documents for the container loaded with the BMW x5 and the Volkswagen Tiguan indicated that the cargo was shipped from the Port of Antwerpen and the consignor was Belgo Malienne NV AS, while the consignee was Vumilia Investments Uganda.
Following 100 percent verification, the investigation team confirmed that the Range Rover Sport was stolen on 23rd March 2019, the Range Rover Vogue on May 5 2019, the BMW 530D model on May 8 2019, the BMW x5 on June 6 2019, and the Volkswagen Tiguan on December 7 2018. The Motor cycles were stolen on April 12 2019 and May 13 2019 respectively.
The vehicles were inscribed with chassis numbers of other vehicles which have not been reported as stolen in the United Kingdom to circumvent border control systems. It is believed that such smuggled high-end vehicles are diverted to the Kenyan local market which hurts the local motor-vehicle industry. Further, proceeds from the illegal business are believed to be responsible for funding organized crime.
This latest seizure, once again, is a statement by the Kenya Revenue Authority and the relevant local and international law enforcement organs that they will not relent on efforts to prevent the Port of Mombasa from being used as a conduit for illicit trade.