Detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) dismantled an alleged smuggling of goods and tax evasion syndicate involving senior officials of the port of Mombasa.
According to preliminary findings following investigations by the Kenya Ports Authority between June and September, officers uncovered a theft scandal carried out by port managers in cahoots with importers and container freight stations.
In a letter to CS National Treasury dated November 11, detectives from the Cybercrime Financial Investigations and Forensics Unit appointed KPA Chief Operating Officer Sudi Mwasinago and Evans Akunav as Acting Senior Officer operations, as prime suspects.
The detectives now recommend the immediate suspension of the leaders until the end of the investigations.
The letter is signed by DCI Chief of Investigations John Gachomo and copied to Transport CS and PS, Treasury PS and the acting CEO of KPA.
He further warns that the extended stay of the two directors would interfere with crucial forensic evidence.
“They are the main suspects and bear the greatest responsibility according to the evidence in our possession. So far, both still have access to the material and data under investigation. There is a potential risk that suspects will interfere with crucial forensic evidence and their continued retention will be very detrimental to investigations and could nullify the whole process, ”Gachomo advises.
Following the revelations, a further in-depth investigation covering areas that have been identified as prone to abuse will be undertaken in due course.
“It is evident that there is a deliberate illegal activity of container smuggling and tax evasion carried out by port managers in cahoots with importers and certain container freight stations (CFS). A further in-depth investigation covering areas that have been identified as prone to abuse has been recommended and will follow, ”detectives said.
The latest scam follows the mysterious disappearance of seized containers in 2019.
In a verification exercise this week, a parliamentary committee on trade and industry was shocked to discover 88 of 139 containers of cooking oil declared unfit for human consumption missing from freight stations.
The shipment had been reported by a multi-agency government team.
MPs called on the DCI to speed up its investigations to find out how doomed oil ended up in the local market and prosecute the culprits behind the thieves’ union.
The port of Mombasa is a vital artery for East African trade, handling fuel and other imports for landlocked neighbors including Uganda and South Sudan.