Court suspends Sh45,000 levy for South Sudan cargo

Offloading of Cargo in one of the Vessels that docked at the Port of Mombasa on March 06, 2024. 

Photo credit: File | Kevin Odit | Nation Media Group

The High Court has temporarily suspended the implementation of a $350 (Sh45,850) levy that was being charged per container for all goods destined for South Sudan.

Justice Gregory Mutai who certified the case as urgent issued the order pending the hearing of an application by clearing agents under the umbrella of Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association (Kifwa) who are challenging the levy.

Kifwa claims that the Mombasa Monitoring Station-National Revenue Authority of South Sudan issued a directive that they should pay the money to a private company in Uganda, Invesco Uganda Limited, for a tracking system christened mandatory Electronic Cargo Tracking Note (ECTN).

Kifwa has also been ordered to serve the monitoring station with case documents within three days for inter-parties hearing on April 9.

In its petition, Kifwa says that as clearing agents they are licensed by the Commissioner of Customs Kenya to undertake cargo clearance and collection of taxes and levies due to the government.

“As clearing agents, we operate under Kenyan laws and the East Africa Community Customs Management Act and the regulations made thereunder,” the petition states.

Kifwa wants a declaration that the levy per unit to all imports headed to South Sudan is unconstitutional.

It also seeks an order issued to quash the directive and prohibit the Mombasa Monitoring Station-National Revenue Authority of South Sudan from enforcing the directive.

According to Kifwa, there exists a cargo monitoring tracking system manned by the customs department in Kenya-Regional Electronic Cargo Tracking System-which is efficient, mandatory and free within East Africa.

They argue that the South Sudan ECTN is inconsequential in terms of cargo tracking except for collecting the money and directing the funds to a private account in Uganda.

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