Court orders for 100% verification of 82 forty-foot containers with imported cargo declared as imported tea

The High Court has ordered the 100% verification of imported cargo declared as imported black tea and currently detained by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) at a Container Freight Station (CFS) in Mombasa.

Justice John Mativo gave the orders on 4th February, 2022 when he visited Regional Logistics Container Freight Station (CFS) at Miritini for hearing of a case in which an importer, Cup of Joe Limited, is seeking judicial review of KRA’s decision to detain 82 forty-foot containers of imported tea.

The importer had earlier applied for an order to have the verification halted submitting that a multi-agency team had already conducted the same exercise, which the Judge dismissed.

The applicant, Cup of Joe Limited, imported 82 forty-foot containers with black tea from Iran and Vietnam. The same arrived in four batches between 13th April 2021 and 13th June 2021. The applicant alleges that the tea was for purposes of blending and eventual re-export to the overseas market. The applicant argued that the company obtained all the necessary permits to import the teas and asked the court to quash KRA’s decision and order for release of the tea.

In its response filed in court, KRA argues that it  was advised by the Directorate of Criminal Investigation vide a letter dated 28th December 2021  not to release the teas in question as the same are subject to criminal investigation for various offences including financing of terrorism, irregular importation, concealment and mis-declaration.

The decision for the court to visit the site where the containers are being held was as a result of an application made by the Attorney General, who is enjoined as an interested party in the matter. The attorney general submitted to the Court that the Tea was detained after the government received intelligence reports that the Cargo had been imported into the country under suspicious circumstances and that there were inconsistencies in what was declared in the manifest.

The state also maintained that the importer had requested for the necessary permit to import the cargo after the government had already commenced investigation regarding the consignment. The State also told the court that it had received a letter from Kenya Tea Development Authority saying that it did not import some of the tea in the Consignment labelled as being processed by KTDA and requested for investigation.

Two out of the 82 containers were verified on Friday. The judged fixed the mention of the matter on Monday 7th February 2022 for the court to decide on when the verification of the remaining containers will continue.


Commissioner, Legal services and Board Coordination

PRESS RELEASE 04/02/2022

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Court orders for 100% verification of 82 forty-foot containers with imported cargo declared as imported tea