Police shut down Joho family firms in tax row


Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho. PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI

The Police Tuesday closed down two container freight stations (CFS) owned by Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho’s family amid protest that there was a court order stopping the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) from interfering with the businesses.

Port OCPD Zacchaeus Ng’eno said officers had been instructed to close down the two businesses.

It was not clear whether the police had been served with the court order.

On Monday, the High Court stopped the taxman from shutting down Autoports Freight Terminals and Portside Freight Terminals or stopping the companies from conducting their operations pending the hearing and determination of the cases.

“The company (Portside Freight Terminals) is allowed to challenge KRA’s decision to suspend its licence. In the meantime, a stay is granted suspending the respondent’s decision to stop the company’s operations until the suit is heard and determined,” ruled Justice PJ Otieno.

The KRA over the weekend in a statement said the closure of the two CFSs was intended to enforce tax compliance, but added that it could not disclose specific reasons for its action.

The companies, through lawyers Paul Buti and Dennis Mosota, had argued that the KRA’s decision to suspend the companies’ licence was in bad faith and meant to achieve ulterior motives.

Mr Mosota claimed the KRA and the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) did not give them any reasons for closing the stations, and wondered why they carried out the operation at night.

“It was unfair for KRA to strike at night and place padlocks on the entrance to the facility without any fair administrative process. They condemned the company unheard, which is a violation to rules of natural justice,” said Mr Mosota.

He asked the KRA to treat the company fairly by allowing for an independent adjudication of the dispute.

The KPA has been named as an interested parties in the two separate suits filed by the freight stations.