KRA Team Grilled Over Sh38 Million Airport Tax Cut

A company hired to operate the apron buses at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport got a Sh38 million import duty, the taxman said yesterday.

The Kenya Revenue Authority Customs officials yesterday appeared before the Transport Committee of the National Assembly. They said Relief and Mission Logistics company got the tax waiver because it was an approved ground handling agent by KAA. The officials were asked to sum up the value of tax exemptions for each of the five buses. They said Sh7.4 million in import duty was waived.

The officials were hard pressed to explain the circumstances under which they approved the tax-waiver without a written authority from either the government or KAA.

Customs acting commissioner Julus Musyoki said: “We relied on the tender award document and the final contract signed between the company and KAA to give the exemptions and owing to the usage of the buses and KRA’s mandate to facilitate business.”

The KRA officials said one of the buses imported by the company was “fairly old”, manufactured in 2011. Committee chairman Maina Kamanda wanted to know why the bus was exempted tax given it was not a new one as indicated in the contract documents. “Did you collude with KAA and the owner of the buses to sneak in this old bus?” he said. Musyoki said KRA failed to involve the Kenya Bureau of Standards to verify the quality of the buses.

“We did not get the quality certificate from Kebs because we did not doubt the age of the buses,” he said. The buses tender approval was sought and granted in 2011 through an open tender awarded to Relief at Sh12 million a month.