A truck driver has pleaded guilty before Eldoret Law Court to charges of interfering with transit cargo bound for The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and stealing goods worth Kshs 2.8 million
The accused, Francis Murungi was jointly charged with Abraham Some and Gladys Mwangi with two counts of interfering with a consignment of 877 bales of mosquito nets without permission from authorised Customs officer. He also admitted to second count of removing Customs seals from the truck before stealing 720 bales of the mosquito nets. The consignment originated from China.
The offences were committed on 1st November, 2020 at Juakali area within Uasin Gishu County. Abraham Some and Gladys Mwangi denied the charges before Principal Magistrate Naomi Wairimu and were both released on a bond of Kshs 2,000,000 each and surety of similar amount.
Customs seals enable KRA to carry out real time monitoring and tracking of transit cargo from the point of loading to the point of discharge to avoid dumping of cargo. Arming of the truck with the Customs seals was done in Mombasa before the truck left for DRC.
Details of the case indicate that the clearing agent applied for transhipment of the container to another truck at Mazeras, which then proceeded the journey. The truck owner reported the missing cargo at Industrial Police Station and the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) officers tracked and found the truck parked at Jua Kali in Eldoret where the driver was arrested. Upon verification, it was found that the Customs seal had been tampered with and 720 bales of mosquito nets were missing.
Interfering with goods subject to Customs control and removal of Customs seals is contrary to Sections of the East African Community Customs Management Act 2004.
On count one, if the accused are found guilty they are liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or to a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars. On count two, if the accused is found guilty they are liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or to a fine not exceeding two thousand five hundred dollars or both.