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Firm denies having smuggled five buses for Kenya Airports Authority

COUNTIES
By Moses Njagih | Jul 29th 2015 | 2 min read

NAIROBI: The company contracted to operate apron bus services for the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) defended itself against accusations that it smuggled the five buses into the country without paying duty.

Two senior officials of Relief and Mission Logistics said they were rightly exempted from paying duty in accordance with the law.

Tuesday, the National Assembly’s Transport Committee heard the firm had applied for a waiver of duty for the buses, in accordance with the law, and were granted the same by Kenya Revenue Authority.

The company directors said their grant for waiver was within the East Africa Community Customs Management Act, which gives guidelines on duty exemption.

“We applied for the exemption on December 22, last year and this is the law that we quoted,” Managing Director Gitonga Kihoro told the committee chaired by Starehe MP Maina Kamanda.

But Mr Kihoro was hard-pressed to produce evidence that he had been approved as a ground handler, as is required by the stated law, as a condition for such duty waiver.

PRODUCE EVIDENCE

“This law specifically states that this waiver if granted to an approved ground handler. We want you to produce to us evidence that you had been approved by KAA, and thus you qualified to enjoy this waiver,” said Luanda MP Chris Omulele.

But in his response, Kihoro said by virtue of being given the tender to operate the services within the apron and airspace area, they were approved ground handlers.

“We have nothing to show for the millions we invested in this tender. Besides that, we have also paid in excess of Sh40 million in taxes on all the invoices, yet KAA has not even paid these invoices,” said Project Director George Thairu.

The officials further defended the Sh42 million cost of each of the buses, saying while the price in Germany was Sh22 million, they had to incur VAT at Sh7 million apiece, Sh2 million for shipping and extra costs in port charges, clearing, warehousing and transport, which raised the total cost.

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