CLAMPDOWN

KRA mounts crackdown on illegally registered cars

Cautions public not to be duped into buying such units.

In Summary

•There has been cases of cheaply acquired vehicles in neighbouring Uganda and Tanzania finding way into Kenya.

•Irregularly registered motor vehicles have been found to be overage, according to KRA.

A bunch of number plates and keys confiscated by authorities in a past raid at Kilimani, Nairobi/
A bunch of number plates and keys confiscated by authorities in a past raid at Kilimani, Nairobi/
Image: FILE

KRA is investigating a motor vehicle registration syndicate behind tax eversion and diversion of transit vehicles in the country.

Yesterday, the authority cautioned the public against the use of fraudulently registered motor vehicles and those whose import duty is outstanding.

KRA has embarked on investigations to identify the perpetrators of the fraudulent scheme, it is conscious that some of these vehicles may have been sold to innocent Kenyans who are not part of the scheme,” said Edward Karanja, acting Commissioner for Investigations and Enforcement.

Buyers are going for cheaply acquired vehicles from Uganda,Tanzania and South Sudan to escape the strict eight-year rule in the country.

Uganda's second-hand car age limit is at 15 years while Tanzania allows imports of cars as old as 10 years.

Burundi, Rwanda and South Sudan have no age limits for used cars.

This year, more than 30,000 used-cars imported for the Kenyan market faced a lock-out on the eight-year rule.

Members of the public are hereby requested to verify the status of payment of customs duty of registered motor vehicles with the Kenya Revenue Authority before purchasing the same
KRA acting Commissioner for Investigations and Enforcement, Edward Karanja 

These were units manufacturers in 2013, and had an arrival deadline of December 3.

The government however considered late arrival where importers could prove, through documents, that their units had been purchased, inspected and issued with a Certificate of Road-worthiness on or before December 1, 2020.

Some of these units are however believed to have found their way into the market without proper clearance and payment of duty.

Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) yesterday said distanced itself from any irregularities on registration, saying its mandate is to ensure imports comply with standards, where units under go pre-shipment inspection before being issued with a Certificate of Roadworthiness.

“All vehicles coming into the country must conform before being cleared,” the standards body told the Star.

Irregularly registered motor vehicles have been found to be overage, according to KRA, and as such, they are prohibited imports since they do not comply with Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) KS 1515:2000 standard on the eight-year rule.

Members of the public are hereby requested to verify the status of payment of customs duty of registered motor vehicles with the Kenya Revenue Authority before purchasing the same,” Karanja said.

He added that in the recent past, KRA has continued to intercept imported or locally manufactured goods and the means of conveyance (motor vehicles/trucks), as provided for under the East African Community and Customs Management Act 2004 and the Excise Duty Act 2015.

Some of these vehicles have been found to transport prohibited, uncustomed goods, including excisable goods affixed with fake stamps or those not affixed with excise stamps,” he said.

In December, the government formed a multi-agency task force to tackle illegal motor vehicle registration, with National Transport and Road Safety (NTSA) director general noting a widespread violation of the rules governing the use of registration plates.

“The Authority’s attention has been drawn to the widespread violation of Rule  5(a) of the Traffic Registration plates rules 2016 as evidenced by the large number of vehicles using registration plates not issued by the authority,” he said in an advert.

Being in possession of motor vehicles for which duty has not been paid is an offence under section 200 (d) (iii) as read together with section 210 (c) of the East African Community Customs Management Act 2004.

The particular law states that: “A person who — (d) acquires, has in his or her possession, keeps or conceals, or procures to be kept or concealed, any goods which he or she knows, or ought reasonably to have known, to be (iii) uncustomed goods, commits an offence.

They shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or to a fine equal to fifty per cent of the dutiable value involved, or both of the goods.