Uganda importer loses bid to have KRA release goods

Justice George Odunga of the High Court. FILE photo | nmg
Justice George Odunga of the High Court. FILE photo | nmg 

The High Court has rejected an application by a firm seeking to force the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) to release an import consignment that was confiscated over unpaid tax arrears on goods smuggled into the country.

KRA confiscated beauty products that Spear Head had imported from Uganda, seeking to compel the firm to pay tax arrears on previous imports that was never declared.

But Spear Head moved to court arguing that it has never been served with notice of demand as required, and therefore ambushing and confiscating its goods infringed on its rights.

The taxman asked the court to reject the application arguing that the firm had not opposed the demand and failed to appeal at the KRA tribunal.

“It is my view that the applicant’s grievances could have been properly dealt with under the aforesaid provisions. No reasons has been given to me why the applicant opted to bypass the aforesaid mechanisms, which in my view are not any less appropriate, convenient, effective and/or beneficial,” observed Justice George Odunga in his ruling.

KRA said none of the firm’s manager presented himself in Kisumu and that even after being given time to respond the firm was unable to produce documents to show it paid Sh15 million on the goods.

KRA said investigations established that the firm was one of the companies that smuggle beauty products into the country.

The taxman said the tax evasion was discovered after comparison on its systems with its counterpart in Uganda for 2015 and 2016 records.

The firm brought the goods in a several consignments through Malaba border without making any declaration in the customs Simba system.

The goods had proper clearing details at Uganda customs but no corresponding record on the Kenyan side.