Kenya Revenue Authority in partnership with Japan International Cooperation (JICA), and United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) have today launched a new surveillance boat to reinforce security along Lake Victoria.
The vessel Christened MV KRA 007 will be part of KRA fleet, and will be deployed to patrol and engage in surveillance of Kenyan territorial waters along Muhuru Bay. The boat will enable KRA to eliminate illicit trade and secure the borders along the lake.
MV KRA 007 will be used to protect the Kenyan economic zone from illegal activities including smuggling. The new boat, model W31 can transport up to 20 passengers safely and in comfort at a speed of 30Knots, which is equivalent to approximately 70 km/hr.
Speaking during the event, Ag KRA Western Region Coordinator, Mr. Jonah Ogaro said that the purchase of the new boat is a momentous step in the fight against illicit trade and securing the border points.
According to the International Maritime Organization, over 90 per cent of the world’s trade is carried by sea, calling for the need to secure Kenya’s territorial waters from illicit trade, which include importation of illegal weapons, counterfeit goods, narcotic drugs, and other prohibited and restricted goods.
Illicit trade has deprived the government of the much-needed revenue, brought unfair competition in the market, and jeopardized consumer health and safety. KRA has therefore concerted the fight against the importation of contraband goods using surveillance, intelligence sharing, and collaboration with other relevant agencies.
The new boat will therefore boost capacity in mitigating cross-border crime and increasing the country’s intelligence gathering, and information sharing ability among border control agencies.
The deployment of surveillance boats by KRA along the waters has enabled the Authority to seal revenue loopholes and boost revenue collection. For example, since the deployments of the vessel along Usenge and Mbita Stations, the revenue collection performance have increased by 200 percent and the compliance level has grown by 300 percent.
In the period between, July and December 2020, KRA through the maritime Unit facilitates trade worth Sh. 500 million in the western region. The unit has also intercepted illegal goods worth Sh. 15 million. The goods that were intercepted while being smuggled into the country were later destroyed according to the law.
by Milton Onyango