Ugandan Luxury Car Smugglers Target Kenyans

  • Imported cars at the port of Mombasa await clearance.
    Imported cars at the port of Mombasa await clearance.
  • Kenya has been hit by an increase in the smuggling of luxury cars from a cartel connected to Uganda.

    A report by People Daily on Thursday, April 29, indicated that Kenya Revenue Authority was concerned with the resurgent of the multi-billion shilling syndicate.

    The business had been slightly disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic but is said to be in full swing with the cars flooding Western, Nyanza and Rift Valley regions.

    The syndicate targets luxury cars such as Nissan saloons, Honda Civic SUVs, Mitsubishi and Renault.

    Used cars yard.
    A used cars yard.

    The cars are said to be smuggled from various countries including South Africa, Namibia, Zambia and Tanzania.

    The vehicles are imported through the Port of Mombasa destined for the landlocked country due to their cheap importation fees but some don't cross the border while others are rerouted back to Kenya.

    "Most of these cars and pick-ups in Uganda are retailing at between Ksh 150,000 and Ksh500,000 while in Kenya they cost double to triple these prices," one dealer stated.

    Kenya National Chamber of Commerce Industries (KNCCI) Busia Branch confirmed that the vehicles were being smuggled through the Busia and Maralal borders.

    "That is why when you visit counties in the former provinces starting from Busia itself right on the border, you will find many of these vehicles with Ugandan registration number plates and insurance covers," stated the KNCCI branch chairman Peter Kubebea.

    In January, the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) disclosed that its platforms have been infiltrated by crooks who work in cahoots with smugglers.

    “NTSA has been in the process of reviewing and re-platforming the Transport Integrated Management System following the implementation of data recovery system,” NTSA’s senior deputy director in charge of communication Dido Guyatu told the media.

    This was after they realised the smugglers have been using the platform to generate fake documents for the stolen vehicles (mostly luxury cars) that are then sold to unsuspecting Kenyans.

    Not even vehicles are attached to Presidents are safe from the smugglers. In 2018, a vehicle attached to Uganda President Yoweri Museveni was stolen only to be found and recovered in Kenya a year later.

    A crowd outside the National Transport and Safety Authority when detectives raided the premises on January 30, 2019
    Kenya seek services at the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) on January 30, 2019
    stolen suspect