The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) is set to collect over KSh200m in Mombasa’s biggest auction set for Wednesday and Thursday this week.
Over 300 vehicles and 223 containers with assorted goods, which have been uncollected by importers at various customs warehouses will fall under the auctioneers hammer.
Joseph Waziri, one of the affected importers, blames COVID-19 for the business impasse that rendered him unable to clear his goods. “I saw the gazette notice and my container was among the lots identified for tomorrows auction. Because of COVID-19 I had no money to pay the taxes but luckily I have managed to get enough to save my cargo from the hammer,” he says.
KRA invited interested bidders to visit the 11 warehouses to check the goods which include furniture, clothes, and electronics.
“KRA has managed to arrange containers for easy inspection and we are satisfied as we wait for the auction,” Dorcas Mathore, who intends to attend the auction for the first time is quoted as saying.
Joseph Tonui, a senior official with the KRA, said the auction aims at protecting revenue and improving efficiency at the port. “All procedures have been followed and we expect to collect between KSh150m and KSh200m.”
He added: “The auction coincides with the end of the financial year. The amount we will collect will boost our revenue target for the financial year which is ending this month.”
In the last auction conducted in Mombasa, KRA collected only Ksh53m.
Tonui clarified that some of the cargo on the auction list include that unclaimed by importers.
“We should understand not all cargo is being auctioned because owners have failed to pay taxes; some is unclaimed due to tight security by government agencies to seal off illegal importation.”
He said the process will be transparent. “We expect many bidders, that is why we have spread the activity over two days,” he said.