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Namanga border customs officials blamed for influx of contraband goods.

Kajiado County Commissioner David Kipkemei has accused corrupt customs officers manning the Namanga border station of abetting the smuggling of goods into the country by unscrupulous merchants.

Mr. Kipkemei said administration police have on several occasions impounded un-custom goods in urban centres in the county which he said found their way into the county under inexplicable circumstances.

“My officers have been arresting individuals in areas as far as Kajiado and Kitengela with counterfeit goods and goods that have not been approved by Kenya Revenue Authority and other relevant bodies yet there are agencies charged with the mandate of inspecting goods here. How do these goods pass through undetected?”  Wondered Mr. Kipkemei.

Speaking while on an impromptu visit at the One-Stop-Border Post, Mr. Kipkemei noted that the perpetrators of corruption are officers within the station as illegal goods are allowed to pass through the border post.

Some of the illegal goods seized along the Kajiado-Namanga highway.Photo by KNA.

He directed all government agencies working at the Namanga border post to collaborate in service delivery to avoid the unnecessary delays that businessmen and travelers are always subjected to while at the border town awaiting clearance.

Mr.Kipkemei said Immigration, Kenya revenue, Police Officers and other public servants working under the multi agency umbrella at the border have no option but to work closely with each other to ensure law and order is discharged.

“The greatest culprits here are the police officers who are mounting illegal roadblocks everywhere between Namanga and Kajiado towns. Henceforth, I am warning you, there will be no police officer allowed to mount illegal roadblocks and anyone officer contravening this directive will be arrested and charged,” said Mr.Kipkemei.

The administrator said he has received many complaints from road users that they are stopped unnecessarily along the Namanga to Kajiado road by police officers whose aim is to solicit bribes.

“I am working closely with all the county security commanders so that we can bring sanity and rid the police service of corrupt elements. What is your business with a government vehicle on that road while our people are complaining about rising crime?” posed Kipkemei.

Mr. Kipkemei advised officers working for all the government agencies operating at the border to view themselves as equals and added no one should be taken to be inferior.

“Inspection of goods and vehicles at the border will from today involve all the government agencies and once they leave the border, I do not expect other inspections along the road because those other extra roadblocks are set up for soliciting bribes,” said the commissioner.

Meanwhile, a Kajiado Court has fined trader Harun Kagongo Shs. 70,000 after he pleaded guilty  to owning a lorry that was intercepted in Kajiado while transporting 600 assorted crates of Soda, 17 sacks of rice of 25kgs each, and 15 crates of energy drink all valued at Sh. 225,000.

Principal Magistrate Becky Cheloti also ruled that the un acustomed goods belong to Kagongo therefore he should pay all the charges required at the border post since the goods bear the Tanzanian Bureau Of Standards stamp confirming that the goods are fit for human consumption and directed that the trader thereafter produce a clearance certificate from the border officials for the goods to be released or in default forfeit the goods.

By Rop Janet.

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