13 KPA and KRA managers charged in Sh82m container scam

Suspects from right: Paul Makau, Benedict Opiyo, Vincent Onchweri, James Kato, Dzila Bweni, Joshua Misoi, Benard Adungo, Mohammed Kangao and Binti Mohammed at the Mombasa Court in Mombasa County on Wednesday 2nd November 2016, where they denied seven accounts of conspiring to facilitate the release of 121 containers without payment of custom duty causing revenue loss of Ksh 82, 442,895. They were released on a bond of Ksh 500,000. Their case will be mentioned on November 15 for pre-trial. Photo/Kelvin Karani

At least 13 managers of two State corporations have been charged with the loss of 121 containers.
The officials, some of whom were arrested on Tuesday, were charged with losses that took place between May and August in the single largest loss of containers in recent times.

It was the highest number of managers charged in a single day from crimes ranging from aiding tax evasion and fraud.

Those charged include Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) IT manager Fatuma Nabhany being sought by police after a warrant of arrest was issued for failing to appear in court yesterday.

Other KPA managers charged are Kilindini Waterfront Automated Terminal Operation System (KWATOS) Principal Operation Officer at Container Terminal Nzila Bweni Mwadzila, his assistant Joshua Misoi and Principal Officer in charge of monitoring Benard Adungo Amake.

From the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Paul Makau, Benedict Opiyo and James Kato, supervisors at berth No 5 in charge of the system linking the taxman and KPA were charged.

Two Jamil Trading Company directors, Mohamud Hassan Ibrahim and Mohamed Ibrahim Hassan, importers of 120 of the 121 containers, were charged in absentia.

Fatuma becomes the first top KPA manager to be implicated in the Kilindini corruption circus that has taken multi-agency team two months to unravel after KRA Commissioner General John Njiraini raised the alarm.

Officials from Ethics Anti-Corruption Commission, KRA and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, among others, were involved.

Seven KPA managers implicated in the theft of 121 containers from the port however denied the charges, alongside their three KRA counterparts before Mombasa Principal Magistrate Francis Kyimbia.

The magistrate ordered them arrested after rejecting an application by State council Eugene Wangila to have them summoned.

“I am not going to issue summons but issue warrants of arrest against the suspects who are not in the court,” said the magistrate.

They denied conspiring to facilitating release of 121 containers at Kilindini Habour that saw the government lose Sh82 million in duty.

Meanwhile, the Jamii Trading Company bosses were charged that between May 1 and August 3 this year at the same habour, they procured and kept at Benvick Warehouse, 68 containers they knew had import duties amounting to Sh36 million that had not been paid.

In a separate charge, KRA employees Paul Mkau, Vincent Nyatundo Onchweri, Benedict Opiyo and James Kato were jointly charged, with others not before, with aiding Jamil to evade tax.

Joshua Misoi was also charged that knowingly and without lawful authority, he gained access to the computerized system and and caused unprocedural release of 17 containers.

Nabhany and Edar Mwake Ngwatu were charged with failing to deactivate the password of a Ms Rose Musau from the system even after she retired, thereby causing the release of 121 containers from the port. The two are in charge of managing passwords.

There are reports that more high-ranking managers will be arrested and charged over theft at the port. Detectives said the managers used subterfuge to sneak out cargo which later disappeared from the port’s clearance system undetected and without trace leading to the loss of million of shillings in revenue.

The case will be mentioned on November 15.


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