1. In 2018, the Government of Kenya launched an energized campaign to fight illicit trade in the country. This included heightened 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 goods and smuggled goods.
2. As part of the joint anti-illicit trade efforts, agencies working at the port of Mombasa recently disrupted an international criminal syndicate that has been smuggling stolen motor vehicles through the Port and selling them in the East African market.
3. Between March and September 2019, Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), and Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) collaborated to intercept twenty-one (21) high-value vehicles stolen from the United Kingdom (UK) and shipped to the port of Mombasa.
4. Besides the collaboration among Kenyan agencies, these interceptions were also made possible through information and intelligence exchange with international law enforcement partners. We wish to recognize particularly the roles played by the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) working through DCI, and the UK’s National Crime Agency working through the British High Commission in Nairobi.
5. The seized vehicles had been shipped at ports in the UK and Belgium. According to manifest information, all 21 vehicles were intended to transit through Kenya and arrive at other destinations in East Africa. However, given recent seizures made by DCI, we believe that such high-value stolen vehicles occasionally enter the Kenyan market illegally.
6. Following the seizures, Kenyan and British authorities have worked together to ensure the stolen vehicles are returned to the country of origin. In June 2019, two (2) vehicles – a Range Rover Sport and a BMW X5 – were successfully shipped back to the UK.
7. Today, an additional four (4) vehicles are being shipped back to the UK:
7.1 Black Range Rover Vogue Autobiography, stolen on 10/01/2019 in Berkshire, UK. Seized at Mombasa Port on 12th April 2019 inside Container No. BMOU2203652.
7.2 Black Range Rover Sport, stolen on 11/11/2018 in London, UK. Seized at Mombasa Port on 12th April 2019 inside Container No. MSCU6941751.
7.3 White Mercedes Benz GLE 250D AMG, stolen on 01/02/2019 in Berkshire, UK. Seized at Mombasa Port on 24th April 2019 inside Container No. MEDU3977530.
7.4 Black Range Rover Sport Autobiography, stolen 07/02/2019 in Oxfordshire, UK. Seized at Mombasa Port on 24th April 2019 inside Container No. AMFU3166452.
8. These vehicles will be received in the UK by police authorities, specifically the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (NaVCIS). UK Police will undertake further law enforcement measures and eventually reunite the vehicles with their rightful owners.
9. In returning the vehicles, we wish to send 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. We are going beyond the quest for revenue and heeding the President’s call to root out illicit trade and safeguard a level playing field for legitimate businesses. 10. The government is actively engaged to revamp the automotive sector and promote Kenya as a vehicle-manufacturing hub in the region. We cannot afford to provide safe passage for stolen motor vehicles into the East African market.
11. The recent joint efforts by government agencies at the port of Mombasa have brought about great success in law enforcement and trade facilitation. This is a clear indication of the positive synergy of inter-agency cooperation.
12. KRA, DCI and KPA will continue to work together and to collaborate with international partners in detecting, disrupting and deterring all forms of illicit trade at the port of Mombasa.