The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) officers in Garissa on Thursday destroyed assorted contraband goods worth Sh. 1.8 million seized from smugglers.
Addressing the press, area County Commissioner (CC), Meru Mwangi who oversaw the exercise at Garissa dumpsite said the goods were intercepted by security officers at various entry points in June and July last year. Security was tight at the venue to keep off would be looters.
“The goods were seized during the ongoing multi-agency crackdown on illicit goods. Most of them were concealed to evade payment of tax (import duty), while some were found to be counterfeit or substandard products,” Mwangi said.
“The goods had been smuggled into the country from neighbouring Somali,” he added.
The items destroyed included 82 bags of sugar weighing 25 kg each, 234 bags of rice weighing 25 kg each, 59 cartons of assorted powder, 75 rolls of textiles of 25 meters, 50 pieces of multi vitamin syrups of 200 mls, norfloxagin and metronidazole 96 pieces all valued at Sh. 1,870,250
Mwangi said that stern action will be taken against anyone found smuggling contraband goods into the country to create unnecessary competition in the market.
“These kind of products are not even fit for human consumption. That is why we are destroying them to send a clear message to all those dealing with illegal goods that their days are numbered,” he said.
Also present were officers from Kenya Bureau of Standards (KBS) amongst other state agencies.
The County Commissioner said all state agencies will work closely to ensure substandard products that are potentially harmful to Kenyans don’t find their way into the country.
“We want to protect legitimate traders who pay taxes to the government from unfair market competition,” he noted.
Speaking last month during his visit to Garissa, the Interior Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Fred Matiang’i instructed security agents in North Eastern to deal ruthlessly with contraband trade.
Matiang’i said the trade was not only hurting business in Kenya but gave direct revenue to Somali based Al-Shabaab terror group.
He said a multi-agency security team will soon start unprecedented crackdown on the illicit trade.
“We are going to start an unprecedented crackdown on contraband trade that is thriving in this part of the country because it is direct revenue to Al-Shabaab,” Matiang’i said.
“Those engaging in it are Al-Shabaab foremost supporters and funders,” he noted, adding; “We have told the security teams here that we will come down on that hard. We will not pretend on this.”
By Jacob Songok