Coast Tycoon Mohammed Jaffer is behind a rigorous campaign to save two KPA bosses whom the Directorate of Criminal Investigations recommended be suspended over Cargo theft.
The police, a few days ago, petitioned the Treasury to suspend the two managers of the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) amid investigations into a suspected container smuggling racket at the port of Mombasa believed to be depriving Kenya of tax revenues.
The DCI demanded the temporary removal of KPA’s general manager of port operations, Sudi Mwasinago, and the acting principal officer for ship operations, Evans Akunava as investigations proceed citing possibilities of them interfering with evidence.
The DCI has linked the two as the heads of a syndicate that releases containers through a manual system, which allows for cargo to exit the port without taxes paid.
It is not clear as to why Mohammed Jaffer would be interested in interfering with such an investigation but reports indicate that the two managers are his people that may also be helping him evade taxes.
A year ago, the offices of Mohammed Jaffer in Mombasa were raided over the Ksh200 million tax evasion probe. Jaffer who owns African Gas and Oil Company Mombasa is said to have been underpaying the corporate tax and also reducing his company’s tax liability by under-declaring and undervaluing imports.
While pilot testing their new plan in October 2020, the taxman obtained a court order and went on to grab documents from the companies for analysis.
The shocking findings revealed that the companies, One Petroleum Limited, Africa Gas and Oil Company Limited, One Gas Ltd and Grain Bulk Handling Limited had evaded taxes amounting to over Sh68 million.
Further analysis of the documents revealed a massive under-declaration or omission of sales.
As a result, KRA withdrew tax compliance certificates for Jaffer’s companies on the basis that the companies were owned by the same families and investigations will involve all of them.
The companies had shared directors including; Mujtaba Mohamed Jaffer, Ali Abbas Jaffer and Mohamed Husein Jaffer.
The raid was a rare surprise since the family is known to have close ties to powerful politicians in and out of the government.
But as expected, Jaffer’s companies got off the hook on alleged “technical grounds”.
Jaffer controversially built his business empire by leveraging on political patronage and was at one time the main benefactor of ODM Party Leader Raila Odinga when he served as Prime Minister. He was also close to later president Moi.
Who owns Kenya? pic.twitter.com/ALLaGhmsJN
— Robert Syundu (@RobertSyundu) December 16, 2021
The current happenings at the KPA may be linked to tax evasion and him maintaining his monopoly.
To date, there have been tens of investigations on the unfair monopoly of Mohammed Jaffer’s companies including Grain Bulk Handling Limited (GBHL) but no action has been taken.
Last month, Investigations into the awarding of contracts by the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) revealed that companies with lucrative deals at the Port of Mombasa are linked to prominent politicians and business people.
Lawmakers demanded that KPA comes clean on how the private firms operating within its premises were licensed.
The firms mentioned were Portside Freight Terminals Ltd, linked to the family of Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho, and Grain Bulk Handlers Ltd, owned by… Mohammed Jaffer.
Several parliamentary committees have visited the port in the past two years in a bid to get answers to how the companies came to own berths and how much they remit to KPA.
For years, Grain Bulk, which draws its clientele from millers and international relief food organisations, among others, has been the sole company mandated to handle bulk grain.
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In a report, the National Assembly Finance, Planning and Trade Committee took issue with this monopoly, and the low tariffs it is charged compared to other grain handlers, saying it is a technical barrier to trade and competition.
This confirms that the Kenya Ports Authority is now under the control of a private citizen, Mohammed Jaffer…Just like the Gas monopoly.
The recent move by Mohammed Jaffer to fight DCI efforts to clean corruption at the Kenya Ports Authority shows how Mohammed Jaffer has managed to control almost all the key sectors of the Kenyan economy.
This was also very evident during the race for the control of the Dock Union Workers union where Mohammed Jaffer spent over Ksh. 100 Million to influence the election of Simon Sang as the secretary-general for the union.
It will be interesting to see how far Mohammed Jaffer will go in undermining the DCI that is trying to clean the corruption at the Port.
Cyprian is a blogger who has an interest in politics, news, current affairs, people and anything that is of interest to society. My aim is to inform and update readers with the most accurate information.