UK, Kenya in deal to nab car smug­gling car­tels

The Star (Kenya) - - Counties -

The United King­dom and Kenya have set up a joint team to probe ram­pant cases of ve­hi­cle smug­gling through the Port of Mom­basa. UK se­cu­rity min­is­ter Ben Wal­lace last week vis­ited the port fol­low­ing safety con­cerns over il­le­gal trade in stolen ve­hi­cles that poses safety and eco­nomic threats. The Bri­tish High Com­mis­sion of­fice in Nairobi yes­ter­day con­firmed the im­promptu visit by UK min­is­ter, say­ing it was aimed at com­bat­ing the car­tels in Europe and East Africa. “The min­is­ter saw the work be­ing done at the port to com­bat the il­le­gal trade. The UK Na­tional Crime Agency is work­ing closely with the Kenyan au­thor­i­ties,” head of com­mu­ni­ca­tions Stephen Burns said. He added they are work­ing with In­ter­pol, and re­gional part­ners to iden­tify, de­tain and repa­tri­ate stolen ve­hi­cles to the UK. “Per­sons buy­ing high-value ve­hi­cles are strongly ad­vised to check the prove­nance of the ve­hi­cle and the seller. If you buy a stolen ve­hi­cle, even in good faith, you do not own it. Your le­gal claim is against the per­son who sold it to you,” reads the state­ment. Re­ports in­di­cate Wal­lace de­manded in­for­ma­tion on car­tels al­legedly col­lud­ing with the Kenya Rev­enue Author­ity and gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials to smug­gle the cars. The UK be­lieves car­tels in­volved in money laun­der­ing and drug car­tels in Europe could be be­hind the syn­di­cate. The ve­hi­cles are stolen from the UK and smug­gled to Uganda, South Su­dan and Gulf coun­tries, lead­ing mar­kets for lux­ury right-hand-drive cars. They in­clude Range Rovers, BMWs, Jaguars, Mercedes-Benz and Toy­ota Land Cruis­ers.

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