Kenya Revenue Authority has suspended an officer who handled the illegal shipment that contained ivory and other wildlife products worth about Sh570 million seized in Singapore.
KRA said the directors of the exporting company, which handled the cargo and the driver of a truck used to ferry the two 20-foot containers containing the wildlife trophy, are being sought.
“So far, the truck owner has provided statements to the investigation team but the driver is still at large. The directors of the exporting company have absconded but are being sought,” said KRA Commissioner General John Njiraini in a statement Wednesday.
He said other KRA port staff are being investigated and “appropriate actions will be taken as the relevant details emerge”.
On Tuesday, Singapore authorities seized the illegal shipment said to be the biggest seizure in that country in more than a decade.
The animal parts from Kenya worth an estimated $6 million (about Sh570 million) were discovered stashed among bags of tea leaves in the two containers while transiting through the city-state to Vietnam, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) and Singapore Customs said.
The seizure contained 1,783 pieces of raw ivory tusk hidden among the bags, four pieces of rhino horn and 22 teeth believed to be from African big cats — cheetahs and leopards.
According to Mr Njiraini, KRA established that the initial consignment was stuffed at Siginon Container Freight Station and thereafter transported to Kilindini on a truck registration number KNY 944.
The cargo, which was declared as tea destined for Dubai, entered Kilindini on March 23 this year, was loaded and shipped out on April 6.
“Post-shipment, several manifest amendments were made changing the destination from Dubai to Thailand and Vietman through Singapore.
“The amendments were not shared with Kenya Customs and these omissions are part of the issues being addressed with the shippers undertaken by the KRA team,” said the revenue boss.
Mr Njiraini said the seizure was facilitated by an alert issued to the Singaporean authorities by KRA Customs team on April 28.
“We shall also continue supporting ongoing Inter-Agency work meant to apprehend the culprits,” said Mr Njiraini.
He said KRA has also revised cargo scanning procedures to cover export goods previously classified as ‘low risk’.
“We are working with the government on a comprehensive programme to upgrade scanning infrastructure at our ports of entry so as to help achieve this goal,” he added.