Confiscation of undeclared items at JKIA takes a strange twist against women

The rate at which women are attempting to irregularly pass through airport points with items undetected is threatening to put them in the same league with drug traffickers.

Officials at the Nairobi Customs Station are rubbing their hands in glee and looking forward to September 29th which is their auction day. Even as they admit that they’re drowning in a sea of handbags, human hair extensions, earrings and wigs which they’ve confiscated at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, the prospect of a good pay day once they’re sold off is nothing less than exciting.

The number of undeclared personal effects seized from Kenyans re-entering the country through the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) has risen sharply as the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) stepped its purge on tax evasion.

“Passengers should familiarise themselves to the allowable concession of $500 (Sh54,900), the specific exemptions, types of goods prohibited and those that are restricted,” KRA Commissioner for Customs and Border Control Lilian Nyawanda said via email, adding some of the items come inas donations but not declared as such.

Bernard Kibiti, chief manager at the Nairobi Customs Station said the seized goods would be auctioned on September 29, 2021, if the owners failed to clear the tax due on them.
The taxman in 2016 set maximum duty collected on personal effects at Sh50,000 in a bid to speed up clearance of passengers at international airports and listed the items to be subjected to customs taxes at the arrival and departure terminals.

Under the guidelines, all the taxable items attract levies at rates determined by the value of money paid at a foreign country rather than factors such as quality, size or weight, the guidelines state.
The guidelines came in the wake of complaints lodged by passengers arriving at JKIA from Dubai and China, who said they were always subjected to extortionist rates unlike their counterparts from America and Europe.

Currently, passengers departing from Kenya are required to fill in a Temporary Importation Form-P45 to declare items being shipped overseas for repair and the accompanying tools and show the receipt during return as a declaration.
Also, items bought and carried for business promotional and commercial purposes need to be declared during departure for purposes of taxes on return.

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    Written by Joshua Wanga

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