Customs officials arrest drivers with fake licences

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2023 01:00 | By
Hand cuffs. PHOTO/Pexels
Hand cuffs. PHOTO/Pexels

Customs officials working with police in Taveta have arrested truck drivers reportedly ferrying scrap metal to Tanzania using fake National Environment Management Authority (Nema) licenses.

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) officials intercepted the trucks ferrying scrap batteries to Tanzania using the Taveta border point.

Confirming the arrest, Scrap Metal Council chairperson Francis Mugo said upon inspection, it was established that the Nema license the driver was using was fake.

“One of the trucks was escorted by KRA officials to the Customs offices at Taveta where it is being held. We are investigating how the owner managed to get the Nema license before he is arraigned,” Mugo said.

The other truck is being processed awaiting the verification of documents provided by the driver before action is taken.

Intensify surveillance

Nema Director General Mamo Mamo said his officers were investigating the authenticity of the license provided by the traders.

“My officers are in the process of investigating the validity of the documents after which action will be taken,” said Mamo.

KRA chairman Anthony Mwaura told People Daily that the authority will intensify surveillance on all border points to rid them of smugglers.

Mwaura, however, warned that stern action would be taken against customs officers found to be colluding with the smugglers on the said border points.

The truck, registration number, KAD 803R was ferrying 10 tonnes of scrap batteries. The truck belongs to company based in Mombasa.

Mugo said most of the scrap metal from vandalised infrastructure is smuggled out of the country. “We have established that most of the vandalised materials are smuggled to neighbouring countries where the enforcement aspect is a bit relaxed,” said the council chairperson.

 The Scrap Metal Council has raised concern over the increased cases of smuggling of scrap metal out of the country and is urging agencies in the security sector to up their efforts to stop  unscrupulous traders from operating.

Mugo said the most smuggled metal has been scrap batteries which are in high demand in neighbouring countries.

Police have this year alone intercepted over 50 trucks ferrying scrap batteries worth millions to Tanzania, but only a few were charged in court.

According to Mugo most of those ferrying scrap to the neighbouring markets have no valid Scrap Metal Council License or any other as required by law.

“The Council appreciates the police for doing a good job and further calls on all scrap metal dealers across the country to make sure that they have valid licenses for them to be allowed to trade,” Mugo said

Support course

The official said he had received complaints that the country was running short of scrap batteries because of smuggling and urged the police to intensify patrols on border points.

“Additionally, we urge all authorised scrap dealers and steel millers countrywide to support our course to end vandalism through shunning the purchase of illegally obtained metal,” said Mugo.

The Council has since protested to KRA over some of its officials at border points, allegedly colluding with scrap metal operators exporting materials to neighbouring countries.

The council according to Mugo has written a complaint letter to the authority seeking to have the officials punished.

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