193 cars among goods to be auctioned on Tuesday in Mombasa

Second hand cars being offloaded from a Cargo Ship at the Port of Mombasa. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) will on Tuesday auction 193 cars at the Mombasa port alongside other items as it seeks to recover millions in taxes.

This follows the expiry of a notice issued last month, where the taxman said it will auction the goods in 322 lots, which have overstayed in different custom warehouses in the port city after owners failed to pay taxes and other requisite duties.

The exercise is also expected to decongest the port and its warehouses.

“Goods will be auctioned pursuant to provisions of section 42 of the East African Community Customs Management Act, notice is given that unless the undermentioned goods are entered and removed from the custody of the Customs Warehouse Keeper, Kilindini, within thirty (30) days of this notice,” read part of the gazette notice dated May 20, 2022.

The KRA intends to recover millions of shillings from the exercise where interested buyers are requested to view the goods in the 16 different warehouses where the goods were stored.

This will be the last main customs auction at the port this financial year 2021/2022 as the number of goods remaining uncollected at the port continue to increase due to the high cost of taxes charged.

Those to be auctioned this week include 193 cars and canters, used clothes and household goods, 48 forty-feet containers containing sewing machine centre beams, tea processing plant with accessories, pipes, and pipe fittings among other goods.

Consolidated cargo is the majority of lots slated for auction, which are linked to small traders who import using proxies posing as clearing agents and either swindle them or take long before paying the requisite fees to clear cargo.

“I found my goods listed in the auction gazette notice because I did not pay demurrages and clearing taxes since my business collapsed during Covid-19. My two canters and a container of used clothes are some of my goods being auctioned but I hope I will clear with KRA before the exercise begins,” said John Mwaliko, a Mombasa businessman.

Many traders importing cargo through the Mombasa port are facing economic difficulties and have failed to clear cargo on time.

Importers have urged the government to consider giving them more time to clear the goods or offer them special rates during the pandemic period. The KRA auctions goods that have overstayed at warehouses after owners fail to pay taxes or those that have been misdeclared.

But before each auction, the commissioner for customs and border control publishes a notice in the Kenya Gazette. If the goods are not removed within 30 days from the date of the notice, they are assumed to have been abandoned.

Reserve prices are determined by several elements, including customs duty, removal and sale expenses, and port and freight charges. Goods cannot be offered at prices below the reserve price.

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Note: The results are not exact but very close to the actual.