The Kenya Revenue Authority has seized 21 foreign registered vehicles worth more than Ksh30 million ($297,750).
Nineteen of the vehicles, mainly SUVs (sport utility vehicles) and other high end models were intercepted in Mombasa and are currently parked at the Central Police Station in Mombasa.
One was impounded in Lunga Lunga, and another in Taveta, on the coast of Kenya.
KRA deputy commissioner in charge of Southern Region Nicholas Kinoti told journalists at the police station on Tuesday the vehicles were seized at the weekend.
This followed a swoop by the KRA enforcement units in Mombasa, Lunga Lunga and Taveta.
“This has been an ongoing operation to tighten border point controls to intercept any illegal item or contraband, including motor vehicles imported into the country illegally.
We conducted this operation to ensure the risk associated with the importation of prohibited or contraband goods is eliminated. It’s a countrywide operation and not the Coast alone.
Mr Kinoti said the owners of the vehicles will have to regularise the importation and pay duty.
The vehicles past the age limit allowed in the country will be destroyed.
The vehicles were impounded after the owners failed to submit valid import documents to support entry into the country.
“We are currently waiting for the owners to either regularise the importation or pay taxes. The Kenya Bureau of Standards rules on imported vehicles is very clear. No vehicle more than eight-years-old is to be imported into the country,” said Mr Kinoti.
Most of the vehicles were being driven by Kenyans and had foreign number plates.
“The owners of the vehicles are suspected to have contravened Section 117 of East African Customs Management Community Act 2004 as read together with the regulations 134-137 of the East Africa Customs Management Regulations 2004,” said Mr Kinoti.
He said roadblocks have been mounted in strategic places to curb any illegal entry of restricted goods and contraband.
“KRA is being supported by other agencies like Kebs and the anti-counterfeit authority,” he said.
Mr Kinoti said KRA had already written to the vehicle owners to come and claim them. The documents we use to detain the vehicles have a time frame of 30 days for which the owners have to come and claim.
“They must produce a C32, a Customs form that allows one to enter into the country on temporary basis with the motor vehicle. They must also show proof of ownership, passport and log book.” he said.
Mr Kinoti said the vehicles were on a temporary basis in the country and were supposed to be brought in by foreigners and not Kenyans.