Two sugar and milk smugglers in Lodwar charged with 5m tax evasion. PHOTO /CORRESPONDENT

Two charged with smuggling sugar, milk worth Kshs 5M in taxes

By Donald Kogai

Milk vendor and his driver were arraigned before Lodwar Senior

Principal Magistrate’s court to plead on charges of smuggling over 60

tonnes of sugar and 3 tonnes of milk powder from Uganda amounting to

over Kshs 5 million in taxes.

Abdihakim Kusow Ali, the owner of the consignment and Philip Kosgei

Kirwa, his driver both appeared before Chief Magistrate Mwangi Karimi

to separately answer to charges of possession and that of conveying of

restricted goods respectively. The court heard that the two accused

persons committed the offences on 13th January, 2021 at Nakwamekwi area

within Lodwar town.

Kusow Ali faces a charge of possession of 1,436 bags of Mayuge Brown

sugar packed in 50 kg and 25 kg and 124 bags of Latto milk powder each

weighing 25kg with a total duty value of Kshs 3,895,450. On his part,

Philip Kosgei faces a charge of conveying 430 bags of Mayuge Brown

sugar with a duty value of Kshs 1,505,000.

Both the accused persons pleaded not guilty to the respective counts

and were each granted a bond of Kshs 300,000 or a surety of a similar

amount or a cash bail of Kshs 150,000 each. The case will be mentioned

on 3rd March 2021.

Importation of sugar is regulated and importers are required to obtain

importation licence and a pre- shipment permit for each consignment.

The licences and permits are checked by customs officers at the border

at the time of importation for clearance and payment of requisite

taxes. To avoid these strict customs processes at designated border

points such as Lokiriama and Karita, unscrupulous importers smuggle in

goods at night through undesignated border points.

The smugglers have also developed a serious network of counter

surveillance trailing the movement of KRA officers and other government

agencies charged with border security. However, KRA strives to detect

and disrupt all tax evasion schemes and prosecute suspects to ensure

that all importers comply with customs regulations and pay their fair

share of taxes.

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