Mastermind and KRA Feud Over Tobacco Imports

Cigarettes+XXX+smokingWhile many nations are mulling over health legislation to curb tobacco use, it would seem the Kenyan authorities have opted for a conventional ‘delay-and-stall’ approach. From a trade facilitation perspective it is a disaster, but no doubt the ‘health propeller heads’ will be happy.

The Star (Kenya) reports that Mastermind Tobacco Kenya has accused the Kenya Revenue Authority of detaining its vehicles bringing in unprocessed tobacco from the Democratic Republic of Congo at the Malaba border for the last one month.

MTK Malaba liaison officer Robert Kiru said three trucks for its processing plant in Nairobi had been detained at the border since August 30 (2013) with no explanation coming from KRA.

“KRA Malaba station manager Philip Chirchir has not given concrete reasons why the trucks are held and neither have we been invoiced for any payment. Our three other trucks are still parked at Malaba Uganda with storage charges now totalling Sh300,000,” Kiru said. Addressing journalists at Malaba border Kiru dismissed as false claims by KRA that no bond had been paid on the impounded trucks. He however failed to show copies of the bond to prove payment.

MTK Corporate Affairs manager Josh Kirimania said he had talked to KRA top officers in Nairobi and wondered why none of them has ordered their officers in Malaba to release the trucks. “KRA have no tangible reasons to hold our trucks in Malaba. This is killing our business since we rely on imports from DRC and Uganda to sustain our business,” he said. Kirimania said KRA was ‘blocking’ their trade by continuously detaining their trucks at the Malaba border and called for an end to the practice. Chirchir could not be reached for comment as he was said to be in a security meeting. Source: The Star (Kenya)


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