Uhuru issues warning to drugs, corruption cartels at Mombasa port
President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday announced the establishment of a special police unit to deal with corruption and illicit trafficking of cargo and drugs at the port of Mombasa.
He directed IG Joseph Boinnet to immediately set up the independent unit to curb tax evasion, smuggling of contrabands and drugs.
Uhuru accused unscrupulous businessmen of colluding with police, Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and Kenya Ports Authority officials to smuggle contrabands, drugs and divert transit cargo.
He said his government will deal firmly with corrupt government officials who operate cartels within the port of Mombasa that cost Kenya millions of in revenue losses.
“We have agreed with the Inspector General of Police to establish independent police unit that will be ensuring transit cargo is protected from the port of Mombasa to the border point,” Uhuru said.
“Our neighbours are complaining that Kenyans are stealing their cargo, which cannot be a status quo. Action must be taken, and will be taken against all those who think Mombasa port can be used as either a port of illicit trafficking or where goods of our neighbour are going to be stolen and consequently charged to the Kenyan tax payer.”
The President said corruption and smuggling of drugs through the port of Mombasa is threatening the existence of the port, which is very critical to the growth of Kenya’s economy.
Uhuru also ordered KPA management to crackdown on cartel.
He said the management should restore the reputation of the port, which has consistently been accused of corruption and being used as conduit of trafficking illicit cargo.
According to investigations by multiple security agencies, some port and KRA officials interfere with the KRA Simba online system to mis-declare goods that pass through the facility.
Earlier this year, several top KPA, KRA and police officers at the port were sacked and others transferred to curb the increased cases of corruption at the facility.
Those sacked included, the former managing director Gichiri Ndua and other top managers in human resources, operations, legal, corporate services and the head of security.
Ndua’s position was taken over by Catherine Mturi-Wairi, who was confirmed on July.
Uhuru yesterday said he was aware of some staff and managers are sabotaging Mturi’s performance at the port so that she can be sent packing.
“I’m aware of what is going on here. But let me warn you that you will be the first to go home before she is shown the door,” warned Uhuru.