Kenya's regional port grapples with congestion
15 August 2016, 10:51
Nairobi - Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) which serves regional countries, is currently facing delays and congestion of cargo after they introduced stringent measures to curb corruption.
Hundreds of long distance drivers are still stranded inside and out the port waiting to load their cargo. They are protesting over the delays.
Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association (Kifwa) said on Saturday that transit cargo for neighboring countries -- Uganda, DRC, Burundi and South Sudan is pilling at the port.
KPA has also suspended staff involved in tax evasion scandal hence leading to more delays within the port.
According to KIFWA, Kenya Revenue Authority (KPA) have hired staff not familiar with newly introduced clearing procedures aimed at reducing cases of graft at the port hence affecting smooth off-take of cargo at the port.
KRA Chief Manager Operation Joseph Kaguru confirmed that they are facing challenges in the evacuation of trucks but the matters are being addressed.
"We cannot continue working with same staff accused of colluding with other cartels to sneak out containers, they were suspended and the investigations are still going on," said Kaguru.
Kaguru said the new measures are meant to mitigate the risks. KIFWA Secretary-General Bernard Simiyu said many of the transporters have lost millions of shillings due to delays.
Recently, KRA said they were investigating how 104 containers worth 1 million U.S. dollars were removed from the port between June and July without payment of tax.
At least 10 KRA and KPA employees have been charged with conspiracy to evade payment of 20 million Kenyan shillings in taxes at Mombasa.
KRA Commissioner General John Njiraini said preliminary findings on the investigations point to collusion between various players.
The taxman is narrowing its probe on importers, their clearing agents, transport service providers, KPA and KRA staff involved in cargo release operations.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has ordered the new KPA Managing Director Catherine Mturi-Wairi to crackdown on the cartels at the port.
Kenyatta said that the port's management should restore the reputation of the port, which has consistently been accused of corruption and being a conduit for trafficking.