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Release of impounded scrap metal rocks agencies

Thursday, June 6th, 2024 03:00 | By
Scrap metal. PHOTO/Pexels

The mysterious release of scrap metal intercepted at the Namanga border point has exposed loopholes in operations carried out by multi-agency teams to curb smuggling syndicates across the country’s entry points.

The operation is normally under the command of the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) officials alongside police officers who are mandated with the role of charging the suspects, handing over the files for recommendations to charge to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

It has become a habit by the KRA officials who man the border points to fail to prosecute suspects after they are arraigned in court.
This was witnessed this week when a truck registration number KDG 039X loaded with scrap batteries was intercepted by KRA officials at the Tanzania - Kenya border last week.

Despite the law being explicit on the penalties involved, the truck and the scrap material were released while the owner went home scot-free.

The truck was however released together with the cargo. This was after the appearance of the truck driver Patrick Matata who appeared before Voi law courts principal magistrate Cecilia Kithinji and pleaded guilty to charges of dealing with scrap metals outside the stipulated hours of half past six in the morning and half past six in the evening.

The magistrate slapped the suspect to pay a fine of Sh30,000 in default to serve a sentence of two months.

Following the suspect’s release it remains unclear on how the truck was released despite the owner of the scrap metal set to appear in court on Monday.

According to police in Voi, there were no specific orders that were issued allowing the release of the truck, however, KRA officials who were mandated to seek the forfeiture of the scrap metal did not appear in court nor seek for orders to have the scrap metal forfeited to the state for destruction.

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