Home Politics Day KRA, DCI raid netted 130,000 fake stamps at Athi River Manchester Distillers – Weekly Citizen

Day KRA, DCI raid netted 130,000 fake stamps at Athi River Manchester Distillers – Weekly Citizen

by kenya-tribune
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Detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and Kenya Revenue Authority recovered over 800,000 bottles of alcohol and 130,000 fake KRA stamps in a raid at an alcohol manufacturing plant in Athi River.

Mburu

The consignment of 33,529 cartons each containing 25 bottles includes 26,628 cartons of Smart Vodka, 1,569 cartons of Power Vodka, 1,336 crates of Gold Ice of 500ml, 546 crates of Smart Ice 500 ml, and 3,450 boxes of Smart Vodka, all without KRA stamps.

The alcohol was retained by the KRA officials in their warehouse which is being guarded by officers from the Rapid Response Unit while the counterfeit stamps have been taken by the DCI detectives.

The three-day operation at the factory was launched following an order by president William Ruto for suspected contraband goods that are denying the country revenue.

Ruto

A brief made to police and KRA bosses said the factory stores remain closed since November 7.

“Godown number 11 where Manchester Distillers operate the unknown alcoholic production plant has been sealed off by KRA officers, and are yet to complete the audit. The audit will determine how long the alcoholic production plant has been operational, and the customs duties payable to the government,” the brief reads.

Preliminary investigations revealed that Manchester Distillers (K) Company has only one director and shareholder namely Mwaniki Nyaga Mwara who is yet to be traced.

However, his employees were grilled by the detectives and their statements recorded.

Detectives accompanied by KRA officers had earlier seized a Mitsubishi Canter which contained 1000 bottles of alcohol.

Investigations were launched leading to a raid at the warehouse and offices of Manchester Distillers situated at Gibi Business Park in Athi River.

It was established that Manchester Distillers operate an alcohol processing plant where a number of cartons containing alcohol were found.

A rapid test of stamps was done but no forged stamp was found immediately.

Though it is a requirement under the customs rules that any person operating an alcohol plant must install a CCTV camera for the purposes of monitoring by KRA, the detectives discovered that the directors of Manchester Distillers had disconnected the cameras to avoid being monitored.

“Cybercrime unit of the DCI have been invited to examine the CCTV machine. The gadgets have so far been collected by the cybercrime officers,” a senior officer said.

A further search at go-down number 24 revealed that it was being used by the employees and directors, and a number of KRA level 3 and 4 stamps and Kebs stamps were recovered, and held for further examination by DCI detectives.

At go-down number 27 which the company uses as a warehouse, detectives recovered a number of empty bottles of beer and empty drums suspected to have contained ethanol, while go-downs 14 and 28 contained empty bottles and over 200 empty drums.

One of the godowns, number 12, was found to be a processing plant unknown to KRA, complete with all the machines and appears to be used in the processing of alcohol.

Therein, officers recovered an invoice indicating that the lorry earlier seized which was detained in Nyeri ferrying 1000 cartons of alcohol had been loaded at the said godown on November 3.

A stamp which resembles the stamp impression of the invoice recovered at Kagio was also found there.

Another vehicle suspected to have been used to ferry ethanol was found at the premises plus other empty drums.

Immediately the officers sealed off all the go[1]downs by use of customs seals.

“The director of the company Mwaniki Mwara was not found at the godown, however, the manager Joshua Mbogo, was found and was directed to appear at the site for the purpose of the audit. His phone has been confiscated for purposes of analysis,” a report seen says.

Ruto sought the intervention of police whom he has directed to launch a countrywide crackdown on tax evaders and counterfeit goods.

The police have been directed to work closely with KRA officials to conduct intelligence-led operations targeting illegal and contraband goods to deter tax evasion.

This follows reports that revenue collection may have plummeted in the last two months.

Acting Inspector General Noor Gabow on Monday ordered a countrywide crackdown and warned that unscrupulous businesses had devised several ways of evading taxation.

“This follows the detection of numerous tax evasion schemes around the country which deny the government due revenue to fund public services. The crackdown is to commence with immediate effect under the coordination of respective commanders at all levels,” he said.

Gabow directed the police commanders to immediately contact their KRA counterparts if any revenue evasion case is detected.

“Regional and county commanders should take the responsibility over these operations in coordination with the KRA as necessary,” the IG directed. “Unfortunately, some unscrupulous taxpayers devise ways to cheat and evade paying taxes due, hence affect projected revenue generation targets,” he said.

He said while revenue collection is the responsibility of KRA, the National Police Service is obligated to act whenever such crimes, including counterfeit goods and organised crimes, are committed.

“We are, therefore, reminded of our general law enforcement mandate under the penal code, the National Police Service Act, the prevention of organised crime Act, and other subsisting laws including the service standing orders,” the directive read.

Concerns have, however, been raised on the possibility of rogue police officers taking advantage of the directive to harass business entities.

 

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