KRA impounds Uganda, Tanzania registered cars in tax evasion scheme

Uganda, Tanzania registered cars which were impounded in Kisii Town. PHOTO / The Standard

Kenya Revenue Authority officials have impounded over 30 vehicles with foreign registration numbers in Kisii.

The officials impounded the Tanzania and Uganda-registered vehicles for not having proper documentation. Stickers placed on the cars indicated the cars had been impounded awaiting investigation or clearance and proper documentation.

All the impounded vehicles were later parked at the Kisii Central Police Station with the owners calling for the arrest of KRA officers working at the Malaba border for allegedly issuing them with fake  documents. The owners called on the Government to first crack the whip within KRA before embarking on harassing innocent Kenyans.

“We want a proper process of importing these cars. It is not proper that one officer from KRA can allow the importation of cars from Uganda and another officer from the same office comes to impound the same cars,” said Julius Onchiri, a motorist whose Toyota Mark X was impounded.

A team of KRA officers and some police officers are still camping in Kisii town as they continued with the crackdown.

An official within KRA said that they were getting concerned that some unscrupulous people had started buying and selling Uganda-registered cars locally, meaning no taxes are paid. According to KRA, some Kenyan car owners register their vehicles in Uganda or Tanzania  and drive them into the country, where they obtain temporary three-month import permits in a tax evasion scheme.

KRA further said all motor vehicles imported on temporary basis for the use and convenience of the importer either from the neighbouring States must have a valid form, C44A, and a Foreign Motor Vehicle Permit both specifying the period of stay in the country. This category of motor vehicles must be re-exported within 12 months of the date of importation or before expiry of the period.

Most of the used cars coming from Uganda, though cheaper, are much older than those in the Kenyan used car market because Kampala has not put an age limit on imported second-hand automobiles.

Kenya’s cap on the age of second-hand car imports means the oldest units being allowed to Kenya were manufactured in 2009. A Kenyan who has been working in Uganda for many years is allowed to bring home a car without paying taxes, provided it is registered in his or her name.