Kenya Revenue Authority has said multiagency team set up to fight counterfeit products and contraband goods does not harass traders while carrying out its work.
Customs and border control Commissioner Julius Musyoki was responding to concerns raised by MPs that the team comprising of KRA, Kenya Bureau of Standards, Anti-Counterfeit Agency, Immigration, National Intelligence Service, Directorate of Criminal Investigations, police and Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services had resorted to extortion.
“Any person who intended to ride on the exercise to extort was forestalled. But any person implicated in malpractice will be weeded out of the team and arrested,” Musyoki said.
He spoke when he appeared before the Senate committee on Tourism, Trade and Industrialisation to respond to a petition raised by Nairobi Importers and Traders Association through Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja.
The petitioners operate at Nyamakima, Kirinyaga Road, Kamukunji, Gikomba, Accra Road, Lithuli Avenue, Dubois and Tom Mboya Street.
“The committee on Trade should carry out and recommend immediate investigations by the relevant authorities into the matter to ascertain harassment and recommend appropriate actions against the perpetrators,” they said in the petition.
Musyoki said the team’s activities are coordinated to ensure they receive instructions from one command centre.
“The petition on undue harassment brought forward by the traders is general. All cases where traders have raised issues have been dealt with,” he told the committee chaired by Kirinyaga Senator Charles Kibiru.
The petitioners complained that the government has been implementing blanket destruction of imported goods at Mombasa post whenever contraband goods are netted in containers belonging to different traders.
But Musyoki clarified saying: “There were extensive consultations between the government and small scale traders in the multiagency. This led to declaration of an amnesty and a clarification to the extent that only goods found to be non-compliant shall be destroyed.”