Kenya Revenue Authority(KRA) has distanced itself from the illegal motor vehicle registration syndicate that has hit the country.
This, as the hunt for illegally registered units continues with about 300 vehicles being sought by the police, with dealers blaming KRA and the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) for abetting the vice.
“NTSA is to blame and to certain extent KRA.” Kenya Auto Bazaar Association chairman John Kipchumba told the Star,“We have pointed out this several times but we are taken round and round.”
The taxman however says it is not directly involved in the issuance of number plates as its sole role is tax collection.
“KRA ensures that all imported motor vehicles are released from the port upon full registration by NTSA,”Commissioner Customs and Border Control Kevin Safari told the Star.
He said as a requirement, KRA ensures that any unit leaving the port has a registration sticker and number plate.
Vehicles data is transferred from KRA to NTSA after importers have cleared their cars and paid all the required duties, to enable processing of number plates.
This now puts NTSA on the spot especially after last Friday’s busting of a syndicate that has been manipulating the regulator’s database to register cars.
According to DCI,the hackers were found altering data on NTSA’s Transport Information Management System (TIMS), with the help of an insider.
NTSA took over all road transport functions on July 1, 2014 previously done by KRA’s road transport department.
Sources within KRA yesterday told the Star the taxman has been receiving intelligence of collusion between NTSA and rogue car dealers whom are behind the syndicate.
“What NTSA is trying to do is bring everybody down with them, it is their mess which they should own up to and not drag everyone into its,” a senior Mombasa based KRA official, who sought anonymity, told the Star.
While it has actively been busting drunk driver in its ‘alco-blow’ operations, the country has witnessed an increase on illegal motor vehicle dealings, including diversion of transit units, and un-roadworthy vehicles on the Kenya roads.
Efforts to get a comment from NTSA Director-General George Njao and his communication team proved futile as our calls went unanswered.
Last week,NTSA communications officer Antony Nyongesa told the Star he was “not in a position to comment” on the vehicle registration matter.
Car Importers Association of Kenya(CIAK) has blamed diversion of transit units, mainly meant for Uganda, for denying genuine local players business.
“These units are sold at a throw away price while genuine businesses remain stuck with vehicle in their showrooms. This behavior needs to end,” CIAK chairman Peter Otieno said.
While Kenya has an age limit of eight years on used cars, Uganda imports older vehicles, hence diversion poses a further environmental crisis, adding to the already revenue losses by KRA.
Police are hunting at least 301 illegally registered vehicle owners after Deputy Inspector General Edward Mbugua ordered the impounding of the units, whose list is shared countrywide.