The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) yesterday auctioned goods worth Sh39.6 million which had been abandoned at the port of Mombasa.
KRA warehouse auctioneer Anthony Wekesa, who led the exercise, said most of the goods which were sold had been abandoned by the importers despite having been given 30 days’ notice to clear their taxes.
“These goods were auctioned after KRA was convinced that the owners had abandoned them in the authority’s warehouse in the port after failing to pay the taxes which they had accumulated since their importation,” said a KRA official who declined to be identified.
Auction is provided for under Section 42 of the East African Community Customs Management Act (EACCMA), which stipulates that goods deposited in a Customs Warehouse may be sold.
According to Sub-section 1, Section 42 of the Act, where any goods which have been deposited in a Customs Warehouse are not lawfully removed within 30 days after deposit, then the Commissioner shall give notice of auction by publication in the Gazette.
“Unless such goods are removed within 30 days from the date of the notice, they shall be deemed to have been abandoned to Customs for sale by Public Auction and may be sold in such manner as the Commissioner may deem fit,” it states.
Mr Wekesa said KRA resorted to a new strategy where a bidder must pay 25 per cent of what had been sold to him so that when one fails to pay the amount, then the same good has to be auctioned immediately.
Among the imported goods which were earmarked for the auction but were not on the list during the auction included three ambulances believed to have been imported by Kajiado County.
The ambulances have been lying at the port of Mombasa since February 2019 without clearance. Also at the port was a second-hand refrigerated Toyota van which was auctioned at Sh1.9 million, far below the market value of the vehicle.
However, some buyers were disappointed after most of the goods which had been advertised in the Kenya Gazette Notice for auction were not listed.
“We are disappointed because the new list we have been provided does not have vehicles such as Toyota Probox, Vanguard and other containerised cargo considered high-value goods,” said a bidder.
Goods which had earlier been listed for auction but were later removed include vehicles and 40 by 20-foot containers with building materials, electronics, and containers with second-hand clothes, bed sheets and blankets.
Among the goods which were not sold was a 20-foot container which the auctioneer withdrew as the bidders did not offer the reserve price.