Ugandan Businessman Wins cigarettes case against Kenya Revenue Authority

KENYA Revenue Authority customs officials, at Malaba border have today released Super match cigarettes worth sh8 million belonging to a Ugandan businessman after the Revenue body lost a protracted court battle.

Paul Sande Emolot, A Uganda businessman, went to the High court in Nairobi to have his transit super match cigarettes that were impounded by KRA since June last year.

KRA impounded 1,000 cartons of super match cigarettes which were counterfeited in Uganda and which were in transit to Kapoeta in Southern Sudan via Lokichogio over claims that they were destined for dumping into the Kenyan market.

KRA's suspicion came as to why the Ugandan businessman opted to use Kenyan route and yet Uganda was neighboring Southern Sudan to the North.

But Emolot was more categorical that Kapoeta where the cigarettes were being transited was nearer from Lokichoggio than through Juba.

The court ordered the canter truck registration number UAM 978Q that was carrying the consignment, be released and KRA to meet cost of the suit. It was given armed escort to the Kenya-Sudan border to ensure that its contents were not offloaded in the local market.

Last year, KRA working together with Mastermind tobacco surveillance team, confiscated hundreds of cartons of counterfeit cigarettes from Uganda worth hundreds of millions.

Five tobacco traders were also nabbed and arraigned in Kapsabet and Eldoret courts for trading in counterfeit cigarettes.

There was drama when Kenya Bureau of Standards declined to undertake test analysis of the contents of the impounded cigarettes to ensure it was fit for human consumption, thus forcing Uganda National Bureau of Standards to intervene.

Border officials of Mastermind tobacco Kenya urged KRA to ensure that the vehicle was handed over to Southern Sudan customs officials to avoid the dumping which they said was rampant last year.

The officials said the influx of counterfeit cigarettes into the Kenyan market was impacting negatively on its profits.

Customs officials at the Malaba border last year raised concerns regarding some transit goods which find their way back into the country after crossing the border to Malaba Uganda.