KRA to auction overstayed goods at Mombasa port

KRA auction

Buyers make their bids on the second day of the Kenya Revenue Authority Auction at the Port of Mombasa on June 24, 2021. 

Photo credit: Wachira Mwangi | Nation Media Group

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) will hold a public auction on Tuesday at the Mombasa port, where 322 lots, among them 193 vehicles, will be sold.

In a notice, the taxman says it intends to auction the goods that have overstayed in different customs warehouses after owners failed to pay taxes and other charges.

The sale is also intended to decongest the port and its warehouses.

"Pursuant to the provisions of section 42 of the East African Community Customs Management Act, notice is given that unless the under[1]mentioned goods are entered and removed from the custody of the Customs Warehouse Keeper, Kilindini, within thirty (30) days of this notice, they may be sold by public auction on 21st June, 2022,” reads the gazette notice dated May 20, 2022.

The KRA intends to recover millions of shillings from the sale. Interested buyers can view the goods in 16 different warehouses where they are stored.

This will be the last main customs auction at the port in the 2021/2022 financial year as the number of goods remaining uncollected at the port continues to increase due to the high taxes charged.

Among the goods to be auctioned this week are 193 cars and lorries, used clothes and household goods, 48 forty-feet containers with sewing machine centre beams, and a tea-processing plant with accessories, pipes and pipe fittings.

Consolidated cargo accounts for the bulk of the lots slated for auction. They are linked to small-scale traders who import them using proxies posing as clearing agents who then swindle them or take too long to pay the required fees to clear the goods.

“I found my goods listed in the auction gazette notice because I did not pay demurrages and clearing taxes as my business collapsed during Covid-19. My two Canters and a container of used clothes are some of my goods being auctioned, but I hope I will clear with KRA before the sale begins,” said John Mwaliko, a Mombasa businessman.

Many traders importing cargo through the port are facing economic difficulties and have failed to clear cargo on time. 

Importers have urged the government to consider giving them more time to clear the goods or offer them special rates during the pandemic period. 

KRA auctions goods that have overstayed in warehouses after owners failed to pay taxes or those that have been mis-declared.

But before each auction, the commissioner for customs and border control publishes a notice in the Kenya Gazette. If the goods are not removed within 30 days from the date of the notice, they are assumed to have been abandoned to customs.

Reserve prices are determined by several elements, including customs duty, removal and sale expenses, and port and freight charges. Goods cannot be offered at prices below the reserve price.

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