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Kenya returns stolen luxury cars to UK

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Kenya has re-shipped to the United Kingdom four high-end vehicles believed to have been stolen and brought into the country in April.

The black Range Rover Vogue Autobiography, white Mercedes Benz GLE and two black Range Rover Sports Autobiography were on Friday loaded onto a truck and transported to a vessel ready for shipment to the UK.

The vehicles estimated to be worth more than Sh40 million were stolen from Berkshire, London and Oxfordshire between November 11, 2018 and February 7.

A security team drawn from the DCI, the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) and the UK’s National Crime Agency led the crackdown that led to seizure of the cars.

The team worked with the British High Commission in Kenya.

British High Commissioner to Kenya, Nic Hailey, said the UK was actively involved in monitoring, coordinating and liaising with the KRA to support re-shipment of the vehicles.

Mr Waqar Qureshi, who represented Mr Hailey, said the owners of the stolen vehicles filed reports in the UK.

“I am extremely grateful to out Kenyan partners whose continued efforts are acting as a deterrent to organised crime networks both in East Africa and the UK,” he said.

“We will continue to work closely with our Kenyan partners to combat serious organised crime which impacts on both the Kenyan and the British public.”

Employees of the Kenya Revenue Authority and the Kenya Ports Authority Workers oversee re-shipping of four high-end vehicles stolen from the United Kingdom at the Port of Mombasa on November 1, 2019. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the Kenya Ports Authority KPA) attributed the interception to information and intelligence shared by Kenyan agencies and their international law enforcement partners.

The government agencies said that between March and September, up to 21 high-end vehicles, valued at more than Sh130 million, that were stolen from the UK were intercepted at the port of Mombasa.

“The vehicles had been shipped at ports in the UK and Belgium,” the agencies said in a statement read by Dr Terra Saidimu, KRA’s acting Commissioner of Intelligence and Strategic Operations.

“According to the manifest, all the 21 vehicles were intended for transit through Kenya and arrival at other destinations in East Africa.”

In June, two high-end vehicles that had been stolen and shipped into the country were returned to the UK.

The agencies termed the seizures and the reshipment of the vehicles a success against illicit trade.

They said the government has sent a strong message to criminal networks in East Africa and beyond that the port of Mombasa will not be used as a conduit for illicit trade.

The seizures, the agencies also noted, are the fruits of the campaign launched in 2018 to fight illicit trade and disrupt an international criminal syndicate that smuggles through the Mombasa port and sells the cars across East Africa.

“[The operation] included heightening surveillance and enforcement measures at all ports of entry and exit. Since then, various government agencies have participated in joint operations to seize illicit goods including counterfeits, sub-standard and smuggled goods,” read the statement.

“We are going beyond the quest for revenue and heeding President Uhuru Kenyatta’s call to root out illicit trade and safeguard a level playing field for legitimate businesses. We cannot afford to provide safe passage for stolen vehicles into the East African market.”

The agencies added that Kenyan and British authorities will work together to ensure stolen vehicles illegally smuggled into the country are returned to their countries of origin.

Waqar Qureshi, the First Secretary for the British High Commission, KPA’s Managing Director Daniel Manduku, KRA’s Southern Region Coordinator Nicholas Kinoti and KRA’s acting Commissioner for Intelligence and Strategic Operations Terra Saidimu oversee re-shipping of stolen vehicles to the UK on November 2019. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP

KPA’s Managing Director Daniel Manduku reiterated that the port will not be used as a channel for smuggling.

Dr Saidimu added that rooting out the illicit business will pave the way for the motor vehicle industry to thrive since the government is revamping the sector to promote Kenya as a vehicle-manufacturing hub in the region.

“KRA, DCI and KPA will continue to work together and collaborate with international partners in detecting, disrupting and deterring all forms of illicit trade at the port,” he said.

KRA Deputy Commissioner for the Southern Region, Nicholas Kinoti, said no suspect had been arrested in connection to the seizure but that the investigation was ongoing.

by nation.co.ke

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Revealed: Mama Ngina Kenyatta’s State salary

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Former First Lady Mama Ngina Kenyatta has been receiving a monthly pay in excess of half a million shillings from the government amid legal debate on whether she is entitled to the payments.

Official documents from the Presidency indicate that Mrs Kenyatta receives Sh568, 218 monthly at taxpayers’ expense for being the spouse of Kenya’s first president, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, who died in 1978. Treasury officials say the payment is tied to the law that provides for a spouse of a sitting or retired president to be paid 40 percent of the current salary paid to the sitting head of state should their husband die.

But some lawyers reckon that the payment is not consistent with the Presidential Retirement Benefits Act, which took effect in January 2003.

“Ideally, this law cannot be applied retrospectively. Mrs Kenyatta, while

deserving State pension or gratuity, is not entitled to a government pay when the Act is applied strictly,” said a lawyer who requested anonymity because he did not want to be seen discussing the first family in public.

Mrs Kenyatta started receiving the payment before her son, Uhuru Kenyatta, became President in 2013, officials at the Presidency say.

At 40 percent of the sitting president’s salary, Mrs Kenyatta is in line for a Sh577, 500 monthly pay.

“Spouse benefits upon the death of a serving President or of a retired President who is in receipt of or who is entitled to a pension under this Act, his surviving spouse shall be entitled to benefits amounting to fifty percent of such pension,” says the Presidential Retirement Benefits Act.

The monthly pension of retired presidents– Mwai Kibaki and Daniel arap Moi—is set at 80 percent of the current salary paid to the sitting President besides other perks like fuel, house and entertainment allowances.

This places their monthly pension at Sh1.15 million compared to the Sh1.44 million that Mr Kenyatta earns every month.

The monthly payment of Mrs Kenyatta, 86, has placed the former First Lady in a small and exclusive club that includes former top public officials who set back taxpayers more than half a million shillings every month to keep them comfortable in retirement.

This includes former Vice-President Moody Awori and retired Parliament Speakers — Kenneth Marende, Francis ole Kaparo and Ekwee Ethuro — who are paid hundreds of thousands monthly besides juicy perks like fuel and medical allowance and tens of aides paid by the State.

The Treasury has set aside Sh1.5 billion in the current financial year ending June to cater for the retirement benefits of the privileged former State officials in a package that will also include the pay and perks of former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and former Vice-Presidents Kalonzo Musyoka and Musalia Mudavadi.

This underlines the taxpayers burden of keeping former State officials comfortable in retirement.

The lavish package has also come under heavy criticism on grounds that some of the retired ‘State officials left office as rich men with property worth billions of shillings and vast business interests.

As the matriarch in charge of the Kenyatta family’s vast business empire, Mama Ngina presides over an enterprise that is associated with wellknown commercial brands and blue chip companies.

Nigeria-based financial magazine, Ventures, in 2013 estimated the Kenyatta family fortune, including thousands of acres of land and commercial buildings to be worth $1 billion (Sh100 billion).

But the full extent of the business dynasty, however, is still a closely guarded secret known only to the family, top lawyers and the elite investors with whom they do business.

The Kenyatta family owned a significant stake in Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA), which recently merged with the listed NIC Bank, to form NCBA Group—which is listed at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE).

The Kenyattas control about 13.2 percent of the new entity, valuing their stake at Sh6.43 billion based on the bank’s market valuation of Sh48.68 billion at close of trading yesterday.

Others investments are Brookside Dairy—where the President’s younger brother, Muhoho Kenyatta, sits as executive chairman, and the upmarket and chic hotel chain, Heritage Hotels East Africa.

The family is also linked to Media Max Company, which owns K24 TV, Kameme Radio and The People Daily newspaper.

It also owns thousands of acres of prime land across Kenya that was acquired by the late President Kenyatta in the ‘60s and ‘70s under a settlement transfer fund scheme that allowed government officials to acquire land from the British.

By BD

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Two students killed in US school shooting

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A second student has been confirmed dead following a shooting at a high school near Los Angeles on Thursday, the county sheriff said.

The deaths were confirmed after a boy opened fire on his 16th birthday at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, 40 miles (65 kilometers) north of Los Angeles.

“I’m saddened to report that we have confirmed a total of two fatalities this morning. One female and one male,” tweeted Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva

Three other students were wounded before the suspect shot himself in the head. He is described in US media as being in a “grave” condition.

by nation

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Sifuna blasts Ruto for his ‘unnecessary noise’ over Jubilee’s big loss in Kibra

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ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna has taken a swipe at Deputy President William Ruto’s sudden tantrums on social media, following the party’s victory in the Kibra by-election.

Sifuna accused the DP for making unnecessary noise and show of emotions on his current online posts which appear to be targeting the opposition.

RUTO’S ANGER

His summation is that Dr Ruto is just venting his anger – which he should stop – over spending money on the campaign of the Jubilee candidate McDonald Mariga who came in second in the elections.

“Hii hasira yote ya @williamsRuto ni juu watu walikula pesa yake. Nilisema hapa Nairobi ma yengs hukula pesa zetu na hatusumbuani hata after Jonte flani kupewa vitu. Inauma but inabidi uzoee. At this rate tutatoa Paybill number turudishie huyu jamaa pesa yake aache kulialia,” Sifuna tweeted.

ONLINE REACTION

After Jubilee Party’s defeat in Kibra, the DP congratulated ODM’s Bernard Okoth for the win but he also pointed out his party’s major gains in the substantial votes it garnered in an area perceived to be Raila Odinga’s stronghold.

In a separate tweet, he claimed that ODM only emerged victorious in Kibra because of an organised militia and violence sponsored by the Odinga-led party.

Sifuna’s post attracted varied comments from Kenyans on Twitter.

“Unasema Ulliam alituma Fare na hakupata results,” said @MykAngaya.

“Is this your handwriting bwana SG, ama Babu Owino anacheza na simu yako,” wrote @Fridah_ritah.

“Just wait for it bwana SG utashangaa na hii borrowed power mnajichocha nayo!” commented @pauliddial.

“But maringa (sic) coz amezoea kubet zikichomeka yeye alikubali kushindwa ata before zikue announced nashangaa hii rende ingine rada yao ni gani?” asked @Martinmusyok.

“That is enough Twitter for me hadi next week niitwe paybill number ikicome through,” said @gygyblidge.

“Mlisema kiendacho kwa mganga……?” asked @MissAntre.

By NN

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