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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Racket of senior KRA officers at Busia border

A racket of smuggling sugar into the country illegally by Senior Kenya Revenue Authority officers through Busia border point has been exposed. Investigations carried out by Weekly Citizen established that some senior KRA officers at Busia border have been collaborating with unscrupulous businessmen to smuggle large quantities of sugar from Uganda into the country through unauthorised routes.
Reliable sources revealed that sugar being smuggled from Uganda into Kenya is usually transported through Marachi and Sofia points at the no-man’s land between Kenya and Uganda border.
A spot check done by Weekly Citizen confirmed that sugar from Uganda is smuggled into Kenya through the two border points which are manned by both administration and regular police officers on daily basis. The sugar is loaded in tinted Toyita Probox cars which transport it to unknown destination with the full knowledge of KRA and security officers manning Busia roadblock along the Busia- Kisumu highway. “It is true that senior KRA officers at Busia border are involved in corruption activities of smuggling sugar from Uganda into Kenya,” a businessman in Busia town said on condition of anonymity. He said that the Probox vehicles can not be stopped by security and KRA officers who patrol along the highway to monitor goods whose owners evade to pay tax after buying them in Uganda but pass through panya routes.
Weekly Citizen learnt that drivers of the Probox cars only flash at the KRA vehicle and security officers manning the roadblock as they continue with their journey without any interference. The Busia county commissioner Isaiah Nakoru said that he was aware that smuggling of sugar from Uganda into Kenya has been taking place at the border warning that those involved will not be spared if found. “It is true that illegal smuggling of sugar has been taking place at Busia border but those involved will not be spared even if it is our security officers manning the border points,” Nakoru said. Smuggling of sugar from Uganda, he said, was ruining economy of the country and killing local sugar industry adding that the government is not going to give room to officers involved in corruption activities because they are paid salary by the same government. Nakoru said that more than 1,000 bags of sugar which was being smuggled from Uganda was impounded at Malaba border  last year and is still being detained by KRA officials up to now.
The commissioner said that many people who were found smuggling sugar into the country illegally through panya routes have been arrested adding that the exercise will continue in order to eliminate corrupt elements in the society. The governor for Busia Sospeter Ojaamong said that the national government should put up the necessary measures to curb illegal smuggling of sugar through Busia border. Ojaamong said that KRA officers have been accused by members of the public of helping unscrupulous businessmen to smuggle sugar into the country illegally. The media has witnessed sugar being smuggled from Uganda passing before KRA officers who pretend not to see or notice what is happening at all.
The press raised the issue with Busia border KRA deputy boss but he declined to comment over the matter claiming that his boss was not around and they are not authorised to speak to the press. The officer instead referred the press to one of the regional KRA boss in Kisumu a Mr Nzoka holding the rank of a commissioner and after being asked to comment over the matter, he promised to conduct his own investigations in order to clear the matter. “KRA officers can not be everywhere to monitor smuggling of goods along the border,” Nzoka said, adding that it is not easy for their vehicles to get hold of Proboxes alleged to transport sugar  smuggled from Uganda.