In a Taveta court on Monday, two individuals, Stephen Muteti and Godson Nzuki, were brought to trial and accused of smuggling various scrap motor vehicle batteries weighing 15 tonnes. The batteries, valued at approximately Sh750,000, were confiscated when the suspects were apprehended along the Voi-Taveta road. Their capture resulted from intelligence provided by a multi-agency task force, as they had entered the country through porous borders.
The two defendants, Stephen Muteti and Godson Nzuki, were jointly charged before Taveta Principal Magistrate David Munyao Ndungi. They pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted a bond of Sh 100,000, with an alternative option of cash bail set at Sh 30,000.
Separately, another individual, Daniel Ochieng, was arrested in the Salaita area along the Taveta-Voi Road, found in possession of 25 bags, each containing 50 kilograms of sugar branded TPC Limited, with a dutiable value of Sh 114,380. Mr. Ochieng also denied the charges and was granted a bond of Sh500,000, with an alternative cash bail of Sh 200,000. The court has scheduled both cases to be mentioned on October 27, 2023.
The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), in collaboration with other government agencies, has expressed its commitment to combat illicit trade. The authority has implemented comprehensive measures to actively engage in intelligence surveillance, investigations, and the prosecution of unscrupulous traders.
These developments come shortly after the arrest of truck drivers who were transporting scrap metal to Tanzania with counterfeit National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) licenses. Customs officials intercepted the trucks carrying scrap batteries at the Taveta border point to Tanzania. The inspection revealed that the NEMA license used by one of the drivers was fake.
Chairperson of the Scrap Metal Council, Francis Mugo, confirmed the arrests and stated that an investigation is underway to determine how the owner acquired the fraudulent NEMA license before he is brought to court. The other truck is currently under review while awaiting verification of the documents provided by the driver.
NEMA Director General Mamo Mamo reported that his officers are investigating the legitimacy of the documents, and appropriate action will be taken once the investigation is completed.