KRA closes down two Joho family freight businesses
What you need to know:
- Importers protested the closure saying the action was illegal since they were not given notice to clear their cargo.
- The High Court in Mombasa said the orders would remain in force until the hearing and determination of a case filed by Autoports and Portside.
The government on Thursday shut down two container freight stations belonging to Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho’s family.
The closure follows a letter from the Kenya Ports Authority to the stations’ management notifying them that they would not be allowed to receive cargo from the harbour.
“It has been decided that nomination of containers to your CFS be suspended with immediate effect,” KPA Managing Director Gichiri Ndua said in the letter dated January 21, without giving any reason for the action.
Asked to confirm his family’s interests in the firms, Governor Joho said. “It’s true lakini hatuna wasi wasi (we’re not panicking.) God is with us. Clearly they’ve started fighting us. We expected this but they can even close our homes. Strangely it’s only our stations they closed.. God is with us.”
Importers protested the closure saying the action was illegal since they were not given notice to clear their cargo.
Association of Importers of Kenya Chairman Peter Mambembe said the closure of Autoports Freight Terminals Limited and Portside Freight Terminals was unprocedural, and asked the taxman to immediately open the facilities so that importers can collect their goods.
Clearing agents and more than 600 workers were shocked to find the gates secured with padlocks.
“How can the KRA shut down CFSs with thousands of containers full of goods destined for various areas, including South Sudan? The move is illegal and we are going to oppose it. What will happen to the raw materials in those containers?” said Mr Mambembe.
“It seems there are some forces that influenced this action because even the KRA knows it is illegal. There should have been a notice,” he added.
Mr Kyalo Kaloki, of Logistics Link Limited, said three of their vehicles were locked in one of the CFSs, adding that they will incur huge expenses if they were not allowed to pick up their cargo.
“We are supposed to transport the six containers to Juba, but we are now stranded,” he said.
Contacted, KRA Regional Manager George Muia said Commissioner-General John Njiraini would issue a statement over the matter.
The CFSs have not been receiving cargo despite an order issued by a Mombasa court instructing the KPA to continue sending cargo to the stations.
The High Court in Mombasa said the orders would remain in force until the hearing and determination of a case filed by Autoports and Portside.