An ongoing case where 31 KRA and KPA employees have been charged for conspiring to release 124 containers without having to pay tax has revealed a possible collusion between Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) and Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), according to KRA investigation officer Dustun Majanja.
In the tax evasion scandal, the passwords of a retired employee MS Rose Musau and MS Florence Lagat who had resigned were used to clear the containers without having paid taxes.
Ideally, cargo can only leave the port after import duty has been paid and all documents have been verified by both KRA and KPA, yet the conspirators managed to bypass this process.
“There was a compromise in the KPA Simba System because someone had manually intervened by putting the data into the KPA KWATO system. KRA and KPA share information but I can only speculate on which side the intervention of data was entered,” said Dustun Majanja who is also the KPA Lawyer.
The KWATO system (Kilindini Waterfront Automated Terminal Operations System) is a system used by KPA to automate the port clearing process. How the container clearing works at the port, is that before a container reaches the port, your shipping company lodges information into the KWATO system about the goods being carried.
Once it gets to the port, this information is checked against the Bill of Lading (detailed list of a ship’s cargo provided by the shipmaster) your shipping company is issued with a release order which will only be given to you once you’ve paid all the charges, fees and taxes. The container at this point is in the hands of KPA and KRA, who use the Simba system to clear goods from the port. A compromise to these systems led to the loss of over sh106 million in unpaid taxes.
This comes in the backdrop of another scandal involving KRA where Auditor General Edward OUko revealed a sh 27 billion deficit in taxes collected that was not handed over to the National Treasury.