Coast Regional Commissioner (RC) John Elungata has ordered security agencies to launch a large-scale anti-smuggling crackdown across the region.
Elungata directed security personnel and the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) officers along the Kenya-Tanzania border in Kwale County to do more thorough inspection of goods.
He said for effective crackdown on smuggling and contraband goods a joint multi-agency anti-smuggling operation would be launched.
Elungata urged the border officials in Vanga and Shimoni border points to crack down hard on rampant smuggling of contraband goods from Tanzania.
He said tighter border checks would discourage smuggling, enhance revenue collection and ensure the economy does not suffer as a result.
The RC also visited the Lunga Lunga One-Stop Border Post where he also chaired a security meeting about curbing the smuggling of goods.
“We need a tougher approach to smuggling and the seizure of all contraband goods at border points so as to send a signal that we are on high alert” he said while touring towns that straddle the common border.
He said trade in illicit goods, substandard and counterfeit products are a major challenge facing local manufacturers while robbing the government of the much-needed revenue arising from tax evasion.
The Regional administrator who was accompanied by KRA Southern region coordinator Joseph Tonui ordered the seizure of all goods illegally entering the country along the border.
Elungata said the government is trying to dismantle the smuggling racket along the porous border and urged the residents to report to the authorities the activities of smugglers in their midst.
“We are on the lookout for smugglers and dishonest traders who have continued to take part in dirty businesses despite repeated warnings”, he said adding that they are determined to curtail illicit trade.
He disclosed that the war against contraband goods would continue unabated in the region and that vehicles and boats used by smugglers would be confiscated.
KRA official Joseph Tonui said smugglers are using unofficial routes, small boats and motorcycles to bring into Kenya contraband and uncustomed goods.
Tonui said KRA is planning sensitisation campaigns targeting border communities with the aim of changing their attitude and perception towards taxation which is the main driver of economic growth for any nation.
He said efforts would be made to penetrate smuggling cartels by engaging law enforcement and intelligence agencies to make leaps in confiscation of contraband goods.
[Coast RC Mr John Elungata (left) is welcome to the Lunga Lunga one-stop border post (OSBP) by KRA Regional Coordinator Southern region Mr Joseph Tonui-right in (Navy blue Shirt). Photo/Ahmed Omar].
Tonui said KRA is taking robust steps in dealing with smuggling rackets while enhancing the potential revenue from legal trade, noting that the government is losing millions of shillings due to widespread tax evasion by unscrupulous traders.
“Smuggling of goods benefits few people but in the long run results in hardship for the common Wananchi” said Tonui who urged business people to engage in lawful business only.