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Nine charged with aiding Sh20m tax evasion scheme

Some of the nine Kenya Ports Authority, Kenya Revenue Authority and Kenya Bureau of Standards employees when they were charged with conspiracy to evade taxes worth Sh20 million on imported goods yesterday. (PHOTO: GIDEON MAUNDU/ STANDARD)

The State yesterday withdrew corruption charges against a top policewoman and a junior officer, 30 minutes after accusing them of aiding tax evasion at the Port of Mombasa.

But nine suspects, including employees of Kenya Ports Authority, Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya Bureau of Standards and a businessman, were charged with conspiracy to evade taxes worth Sh20 million on imported goods three months ago.

Investigators alleged that the suspects conspired to declare the goods erroneously while the cargo was still on the high seas and that the goods eventually left the port without duty being paid. Port Deputy DCIO Remesis Kosgei and an officer, Solomon Kirwa, were arrested alongside the 10 suspects on Friday afternoon after month-long investigations by a multi-agency task force.

Yesterday, Ms Kosgei and Mr Kirwa appeared in the dock before Mombasa Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti ready to take a plea. But when the court session began, State lawyer Peter Kiprop sought a 30-minute adjournment.

Withdraw charges

Mr Kiprop disclosed that he had received instructions from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to withdraw the charges against the two officers “to allow more investigations into the matter”. The suspects’ lawyers did not object to the application and the court adjourned.

When the court resumed, Alex Jamii from the DPP’s office produced a new charge sheet minus the two officers’ names.

“Your honour, I wish to withdraw the charges against two accused persons who are among those in court today facing conspiracy charges to evade paying tax,” said Mr Jamii.

Earlier, Kiprop had told the court that they decided to withdraw the charges against the two following instructions from Senior Assistant DPP Alex Muteti.

The other nine were charged with conspiracy to evade paying tax. They denied the charges and were released on a cash bail of Sh10,000 each or a bond of Sh50,000 with two similar sureties.

They were released after their lawyers, led by Gikandi Ngibuini and Jared Magolo, successfully pleaded with the court not to order them to be released on bonds they could not afford.

Those charged were Dorosila Akinyi Omondi, Joshua Misoi, Alex Mwagasi Mwamba, Henry Wilberforce Otieno, Benard Okoth, Thomas Mwandoga, Stephen Nginya and Hamisi Hamadi Mwagarashi and Abdihafidh Farah.

Mr Farah, a clearing agent with Athina Traders Mileage Enterprises and Surnmaz Mileage Enterprises, was also charged with importing clothes using customs entries that did not correspond to the said goods.

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