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KRA seizes high-end vehicles, motorbikes stolen from UK at Mombasa Port

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By Mireri Junior | Feb 7th 2020 | 3 min read

One of the high-value cars stolen from the UK at the Port of Mombasa last year. Other high-end cars and motorbikes stolen from the UK were seized today at the port. [File, Standard]

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has today intercepted five high-end motor vehicles and two motorbikes suspected to have been stolen from the United Kingdom (UK) at the Port of Mombasa.

In a statement released on Friday, KRA said the vehicles and the bikes which had been declared as being on transit to Uganda were intercepted following joint operation between Kenya, UK and the international police security agents.

The vehicles, a Range Rover Vogue, Range Rover Sport, BMW 530D, BMW x5, Volkswagen Tiguan, and two motorcycles were seized after a joint swoop by KRA Customs enforcement team, international police (Interpol), Metropolitan Police from UK, officers from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations among other security agencies.

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.

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.

Qureshi said 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. The consignor’s address was flat 15, 145 Seymour Place Mary Lesbone, while the consignee was listed as Kwizera Gilbert Jimmy of Entebbe 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.

According to the investigation team, the vehicles and the motor cycles were stolen from the UK between December 2018 and June last year.

“The Range Rover Sport was stolen on  March 23, 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.”

Different chasis numbers

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 organised crime.

This latest seizure, once again, is a statement by the KRA 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.

Another interception

In April last year, seven high-value vehicles suspected to have been stolen from the United Kingdom and shipped to Kenya were intercepted at Mombasa port.

Falsified importation clearance documents indicated the vehicles valued at Sh500 million were destined to Uganda, but customs officials suspected they were likely to be diverted into the Kenya market.

British High Commissioner to Kenya Mr Nic Hailey said the seizure was an affirmation of close collaboration between Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and UK government.

“The cars were stolen from UK and it shows that the organised crimes have no boundaries," he said.

He said sleuths from the two nations were working to identify the faces behind the transnational crime.

Among the cars seized were five Range Rovers, one Land Rover Discovery and a BMW X5 all shipped in containers marked as "other low-value vehicle models".

“In some cases the cars were disguised as used household goods,” said KRA Commissioner, Intelligence and Strategic Mr Githii Mburu.

Mburu said in two cases, the chassis numbers found on the vehicles had been “cloned” to conceal their stolen status.

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