The port of Mombasa is a valuable national asset for the country and an important trade route in East Africa and beyond. It serves as a strategic advantage for inland neighbors such as South Sudan and Uganda.
The port serves more than 30 shipping companies that connect more than 80 seaports around the world. And it’s growing fast and attracting more shipping companies.
The Kenya Ports Authority, which manages the Port of Mombasa, has accelerated infrastructure development and modernization of the facility. This has helped improve capacity and efficiency. Like other competitive port services around the world, it operates a 24 hour system.
KPA has taken over the dredging of the port canal, the construction of berth 19 and the construction of a second container terminal. While these are laudable accomplishments, revelations of illegal activity in the port are daunting.
Some time ago the Kenyan tax authorities raided revelations about the smuggling of millions of goods. The raid, which included a multi-agency task force, intercepted stolen high-end vehicles that were allegedly worth Sh55 million from Great Britain. come.
They also intercepted high-end vehicles hidden in containers as household items. In both cases, the investigation led to charges against the suspects.
Last week there were revelations that the DCI was investigating container smuggling in the port of Mombasa. This follows the suspicion that unscrupulous traders evaded taxes running into billions. The traders are said to have conspired with corrupt port workers to bring contraband goods into the country.
Such allegations damage the reputation of the port and the KPA, and investigating authorities need to act quickly and arrest the guilty persons. Port officials have often been accused of working with fraudulent importers and exporters, but this must stop.
None other than President Uhuru Kenyatta has accused fraudulent businesspeople of working with police, KRA and KPA officials to smuggle contraband, drugs and rerouting goods in transit.
He promised to act decisively with corrupt government officials running cartels in the port.
It is for this reason that we urge the security agencies and management of the Kenya Ports Authority to take action against such activities and to help restore the port’s reputation and make it an important avenue of economic growth for the country.