3 suspicious ships flee after George Kinoti landed in Mombasa unannounced

The shipowners chickened out at the thought of dealing with DCI George Kinoti and his team.

Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti

Director of Criminal Investigations has revealed for the first time how he watched three suspicious ships heading to Kenya making a U-turn and fleeing.

In an interview of DCI’s magazine, Kinoti recalled the events that led to the disappearance of the shipment, never to be seen again.

The DCI boss had arrived unannounced at the Port of Mombasa on August 19, 2019, and together with his team that had flown a day in advance, took over operations at the port to investigate reports of tax evasion.

Kinoti has received information that many ships docking at the Port of Mombasa would declare to have farm implements, yet they were loaded with high-end commodities for sale.

Out of 10 ships, only three would be declared and the other seven were offloaded without paying tax.

When they heard the DCI was waiting to inspect the ships for what they had declared; farm implements that attract lower taxes instead of high-end goods, they chickened out. I was personally waiting to lead the inspection.

One after another, the three ships were approaching the port in the Indian Ocean. They had crossed into Kenyan waters. We could see the ships. They had been captured on the radar. All the ships made U-turns. We learnt one of the ships docked in Mozambique waters. To date, we have never known what the ships were carrying,” he said.

The shipowners and importers of the goods had paid inspection fees and furnished all documents to Kenya Ports Authority. In sequence, they were only coming to offload.

One of the ships offered a multimillion bribe to the investigations team but they chickened out after being told Kinoti’s was beyond reproach.

I was holding their documents in my hands waiting to do an inspection...you can imagine the drama of watching those big ships carrying goods worth millions making U-turns and disappearing into the high seas.

One ship had paid Sh15 million and another Sh27 million...if you had declared everything, why flee? I asked why they had disappeared if they were sure the goods that were in the ship is what they had declared,” Kinoti wondered.

He said the collaboration between DCI and KRA has resulted in the prosecution of many tax evaders.

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