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Tuesday, February 6th, 2018

 

Shock as Kenya ejects Nasa politician Miguna Miguna

By MAUREEN KAKAH
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Fiery Nasa politician Miguna Miguna has been ejected to Canada via a KLM flight, his lawyers Nelson Havi and Cliff Ombeta say.

Mr Ombeta said he was informed that Mr Miguna was Tuesday evening put on a flight headed for Amsterdam then Canada.

Another lawyer, Dr John Khaminwa, said his client “is already out of Kenya’s airspace.

“It is true. He was forced into a KLM flight minutes to 10pm and we gather he is headed to Canada. Such a travesty of justice,” Dr Khaminwa said by phone.

It is not clears what law the government used to eject him from Kenya as the Constitution guarantees him citizenship since he is Kenyan by birth.

HELD INCOMMUNICADO

Mr Miguna Tuesday narrated how he was held incommunicado for five days without access to his family or a lawyer following his arrest last Friday.

He said police officers humiliated him by locking him up in conditions “unfit for human existence.”

Mr Miguna was speaking at the Kajiado Law Courts where he was taken after his arrest last Friday on suspicion of taking part in a ceremony in which opposition chief Raila Odinga was sworn in as the people’s president on January 30.

Reports of his deportation come hours after High Court Judge Luka Kimaru barred the Director of Criminal Investigations and the Inspector General of the police from preferring any criminal charges against him.

DISOBEYED COURT ORDER

The judge had earlier ruled that the Police IG and the DCI were guilty of disobeying court orders regarding his release.

While the court in Kajiado ordered that he be presented before Justice Kimaru’s court at Milimani, Mr Miguna was not produced in the court and his lawyers stayed late within the court’s premises waiting for his release.

He was arraigned in a court in Kajiado on Tuesday but did not plead to charges preferred against him.

Justice Kimaru had directed that police present him before court Wednesday at 11am.

KAJIADO COURT

The Kajiado magistrate had ruled that Mr Miguna be taken before Judge Kimaru in the High Court in Nairobi before 3pm Tuesday for orders on his bail terms.

He further directed that Mr Miguna appears before him on February 14 to take a plea.

This not likely to happen as the Nasa activist has now been ejected out of Kenya.

On Tuesday evening, Nasa supporters who had filled the Milimani courtroom were restless on whether he had been freed after Judge Kimaru ordered for his release.

The judge said he would not leave the premises until Mr Miguna was brought before him.

“I have been informed that he is in the building, so it remains that he is free,” the judge said before he walked out of the courtroom, leaving Nasa supporters shouting and demanding to see him.

CHARGE SHEET

The charge sheet against Mr Miguna alleged that he “was present and consented to the administering of an oath to Raila Amollo Odinga purporting to bind him to commit a capital offence of treason,” leading to fears among opposition supporters that the Nasa leader could also be arrested and charged with committing treason.


Trial begins on cancer jab that can clear tumours

By RUTH MBULA
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Scientists are testing a cancer jab on humans that can eliminate tumours even when they have spread throughout the body after it successfully worked on mice.

This comes as the world observed the World Cancer Day on February 4, a day that unites the world’s population in the fight against cancer.

The scientists at Stanford University in the US said that injecting the vaccine directly into a tumour not only kills the original cancer, but also eliminates all traces of the specifically targeted cancer from the animal’s entire body.

Unlike other cancer treatments already in the market and that involves a lengthy treatment process and comes with rough side effects besides being expensive, the new method is simpler.

Also, the approach works for many different types of cancers, including those that arise spontaneously.

NEW EXPERIMENT

The researchers said they believe the local application of very small amounts of vaccine could serve as a rapid and relatively inexpensive cancer therapy that is unlikely to cause the adverse side effects often seen with common treatments like chemotherapy and radiation.

The new experiment for cancer treatment targeting cancer cells in laboratory mice involved a combination of two immune boosters that were directly injected into solid mouse tumours.

Out of the two immune agents used in the study, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine on January 31, 2018, one has already been approved for use in humans while the other has been tested for human use in several unrelated clinical trials.

Dr Ronald Levy, a senior author of the study told the Stanford Medicine News Centre that when the two agents were used together, they saw the elimination of tumours all over the body.

IMMUNE TREATMENT

“Our approach uses a one-time application of very small amounts of two agents to stimulate the immune cells only within the tumour itself. In the mice, we saw amazing, body-wide effects, including the elimination of tumours all over the animal,” said Dr Levy, a Professor of Oncology.

The experiment was replicated in 90 other mice and was successful in eradicating the tumours in 87 of them, allowing the researchers to declare them cancer-free.

However, the cancer did recur in three of the animals, but the tumours later relapsed after another round of immune treatment.

The study was also successful in mice that had breast and colon tumours.

Chief Executive, Rescue Healthcare Centre Roselyne Nyakona whose organisation conducts monthly cancer screening in rural areas of Kisii and Nyamira counties says this could be a new dawn in fight against cancer.

The Kenya Cancer Association ranks cancer as the number three killer in Kenya.


National interest at stake as country gets set for oil exports

By Jaindi Kisero
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Observers are interpreting the recent nomination by President Uhuru Kenyatta of veteran Turkana politician John Munyes as the Cabinet Secretary for Petroleum and Mining in the context of the political supremacy battles between him and Governor Josephat Nanok.

Highly popular, Mr Nanok has pitched on the right side of a new wave of Turkana nationalism that is sweeping through the land, and which is based on a widely held perception and that Nairobi-based elites want to deny the community its rightful share of revenues from oil.

The theory is that Mr Munyes is being propelled to high office by the Nairobi elites in the hope that his appointment will not only address the grievances around perceived marginalisation of the community in the oil revenue stakes, but will also elevate the presumptive Cabinet secretary to a position where he can check any moves by the governor.

SUPREMACY BATTLES

Yet in the scale of interests, the parochial supremacy battles between the governor and Mr Munyes are a minor factor.

What matters now is the vested interests and the calculations of Nairobi power players and their partners in London, France, and Canada as the parties enter the decisive stages of starting to build a crude oil pipeline to Lamu.

His appointment must be seen in the context of the battles for control of the oil exports business by powerful local and international interests.

We are at a very critical stage in terms of the transition to being exporters of crude oil.

Yet the decisions, which we must make urgently as we angle to get maximum revenues from the windfall, are not being discussed and debated publicly.

Apparently, the government and its joint partners, namely Tullow Oil, Mersk (Total) and Africa Oil, have retained the services of French investment banker Societe Generale to give advice on decisions that have to be made and the next steps to be taken.

I-by-happenstance recently came across a document prepared by the advisers outlining the way forward. The most important decision by them is that the 821km pipeline that will be transporting crude from Lokichar to Lamu will be jointly and equally owned by the government, Tullow Africa Oil and Mersk (Total).

INVESTMENT

Thus, both the oil wells and pipeline, will be a single consolidated asset. Secondly, the plan is that there will be no investment in storage facilities. Crude oil will be pumped from Lokichar into a mothership – also owned by the joint venture – that will be waiting at the Lamu Port.

Thirdly, there will be no refinery. Fourthly – unlike other oil exporting countries – Kenya will not have its own national oil corporation to look after our own interests in the joint venture.

Finally, Kenya, unlike other oil exporters, will not involve itself in oil trading.

This begs several questions: Why are important decisions touching on national interest not being debated publicly? Why do I get the feeling that we are giving away too much to these international firms? Why shouldn’t the government be a dominant shareholder in the joint venture company?

Clearly, we are going into the oil exporting business without thinking about value addition. The fact that we are not thinking about building a refinery is a major omission.

INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK

We are yet to make up our minds on setting up a proper institutional framework for ownership and for managing oil exploration, transportation and exports. In many oil producing countries, this role is played by national oil corporations. Although we have had our National Oil Corporation (NOCK) for many years, we have agreed not to involve it in the new arrangements.

Even the Kenya Pipeline Company has been side-lined. So, who will own the shares in the joint venture company on behalf of the government?

Under the plan, ownership rights will sit with the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining. Since when did we start allowing ministries to own shares directly in joint ventures? It is a perfect environment for local elites to acquire shares in the joint venture company on behalf of shadowy cartels. Have we forgotten about Mobitelea?

WEALTH FUND

Then there is the vexed issue of the creation of a sovereign wealth fund. Why aren’t we talking about it?

Several years ago, the Presidential Task Force on Parastatal Reform suggested that we establish a sovereign wealth fund. It was swept under the carpet. Nigeria only recently established a sovereign wealth fund.

Ghana was widely applauded for fast-tracking production of oil within five years of discovery.

They did not have a sovereign wealth fund and allowed their National Treasury to deplete oil revenues at will.

They soon fell into distress and had to go for an IMF bailout. Major national interests are at stake as we prepare to become an oil exporter.


New Bill cuts locals’ share of oil revenue

By JOHN NGIRACHU
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The government has withdrawn its offer of 10 per cent share of oil revenue to host communities, and now proposes that they get five per cent.

State’s share will, however, not exceed a quarter of the amount allocated to the county government by Parliament in the financial year.

These proposals are contained in the latest version of the Petroleum (Exploration, Development and Production) Bill published on December 6 and set to be debated when the National Assembly resumes sittings next week.

The proposed law is sponsored by Majority Leader Aden Duale.

This is the third version of the Bill initially published in the last Parliament but which lapsed and was republished in September, taken through the First Reading before Mr Duale withdrew it together with the Energy Bill.

He said the Bill had been withdrawn because it contained typographical errors while some sections had been left out when the proposed legislations were republished.

Besides setting out how the revenue from the oil would be shared, the proposed law also provides for how contracts would be scrutinised and approved as well as how the firms involved should go about their business.

EXPLORATION

Its approval by Parliament — the National Assembly and the Senate — and eventual enactment is seen as one of the steps to starting the exploitation of the reserves located in Turkana and Kerio Valley.

The politically-charged debate on the sharing of oil revenue played out in the run-up to the August 8 election at a rally in Turkana in March last year, with President Kenyatta losing his cool as he spoke on the matter.

The decision to reduce the revenue due to the local community is not likely to go down well with MPs from Turkana County, who had rallied their colleagues in the last Parliament to double the amount.

Also likely to stir up trouble is the proposed capping of revenues due to a county.

While the Bill maintains the amount due to a county at 20 per cent of the national government’s share, it places a cap on that, saying: “Provided that the amount allocated…shall not exceed the amount allocated to the county government by Parliament in the financial year under consideration.”

This means that if a county government has been allocated Sh10 billion in a financial year, its share of the oil revenues would not exceed Sh10 billion and the community’s share should not be more than Sh2.5 billion.


Power crisis looms as Masinga Dam faces closure in two weeks

By WINNIE ATIENO
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The country is staring at a power crisis as the government Tuesday announced that Masinga Dam will be closed if it does not rain in the next two weeks.

Speaking during a meeting with the Energy Parliamentary Committee at English Point Marina in Mombasa, Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter said due to low water levels and drought, the government would close down the electricity generating station.

“If it doesn’t rain in the next two weeks, the government will shut down the dam. Water levels are too low to allow continued generation of electricity at the station,” Mr Keter said.

He blamed the weather for the low water levels.

Last year, the plant was shut down twice due to lack of enough water, the CS said.

SONDU MIRIU

Mr Keter said Sondu Miriu hydroelectric power station, which is supposed to generate 80 megawatts, is currently producing less than 10 megawatts.

The plant is in Nyanza whereas Masinga, an embankment dam on the Tana River, is on the border of Machakos and Embu counties.

“Last year was very bad. But if it rains in March or April, we will be okay. We are working with regional partners to develop a proposed dam to generate electricity in western region. Turkwel Dam is the only power plant which is operating well, unlike Sondu Miriu which is a runoff dam,” he insisted.

He said the country relies mainly on hydroelectricity, which is cheaper. “If the dam levels go down, we will have to use thermals. In Mombasa, we used to run 100 per cent on thermal. Right now we are doing 80mw of geothermal direct from Olkaria. We are also connecting on hydro from Kiambere.

If it goes down, we will have to run Rabai and Kipevu 123, which use expensive diesel,” he said.

The CS said the government would focus more on western region to ease electricity generation.

He said private sector involvement is crucial to increase funding in electricity generation projects.

Kenya’s geothermal potential is about 17,000mw, he said. “We are doing only 800mw. Geothermal is capital intensive. We are number five in the world in terms of geothermal generation. The US leads with about 3,600mw.

“Infrastructure has been done and water drilling, too. We only have one investor doing geothermal power at Olkaria, about 150mw. We will also be doing gas power plants here in Mombasa, about 700mw,” he said.

Meanwhile, 200 workers of the defunct Kenya Petroleum Refineries Ltd will not be fired as the government plans to convert the Mombasa facility into an oil storage unit.

Mr Keter said Kenya Pipeline Company would take over the refinery soon, the only one in East Africa. The refinery was shut down in September 2013 following disagreements between Essar Energy of India and the government. The two were equal shareholders of the facility.

Mr Keter said the government has opted to build a modern refinery in Lamu.


Not yet freedom for fiery Miguna Miguna

By MAUREEN KAKAH
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Fiery lawyer Miguna Miguna was set to spend Tuesday night in police custody even after High Court Judge Luka Kimaru ordered his release on bond.

In an order delivered last evening, Justice Kimaru directed that Mr Miguna be presented before him Wednesday morning.

He further ordered that no criminal charge should be filed against him.

In a day of drama, Mr Miguna was arraigned in a Kajiado court Tuesday morning, only for the Resident Magistrate Edwin Malochi to direct that he appears before Justice Kimaru not later than 3pm the same day for directions on bail terms.

Mr Malochi further directed that Mr Miguna, who has been in police custody since last Friday, appears before him on February 14 for plea taking.

Mr Miguna was, however, not presented before Justice Kimaru as directed by the Kajiado magistrate, despite reports suggesting that he was within the precincts of the Milimani Law Courts for the better part of the afternoon.

In his ruling Tuesday, Justice Kimaru acknowledged the fact that Mr Miguna had been presented before a court of law.

He, therefore, ruled that police should not continue holding him any longer.

“Now that he was released on bond and has appeared before a lawful court, he remains free. If he was charged, the court should consider his request to be freed on bond,” the judge ruled.

The judge had earlier in the day found Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinnet and Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti guilty of acting in contempt of court.

But, in his ruling, the judge said he could not hold them culpable and instead threw the ball back to Mr Miguna himself, asking him to file a compensation suit against the State for violated rights.

He pointed out that since the case that was filed before him required that he be produced in court, he lacked the jurisdiction to terminate the proceedings or grant him any remedy.

“The court clearly evaluated the evidence presented before it; it’s clear the State acted in contempt and violated his rights but this court is not open to check on them for the disobedience,” said Justice Kimaru.

NASA SUPPORTERS

And, since Nasa supporters who had filled the courtroom were restless on whether he had been freed, the judge said he would not leave the premises until Miguna was brought before him.

“I have been informed that he is in the building, so it remains that he is free,” the judge added before he walked out of the courtroom, leaving Nasa supporters shouting and demanding to see him.

Earlier in the day, the Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Nicholas Mutuku confirmed that Mr Miguna was arraigned before a court in Kajiado and was represented by two lawyers.

A battery of lawyers who represented him protested against the fact that he had been arraigned without their knowledge. 

They also protested against the fact that he was arraigned before a Kajiado court yet the judge had earlier ordered that he be presented before him.


Kisumu County govt starts relocation of Kachok dumpsite

By RUSHDIE OUDIA
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The Kisumu County government has launched a Sh99 million garbage relocation project despite a pending court case on the matter.

On Monday, the National Environmental Management Authority (Nema) sanctioned the relocation of Kachok dumpsite, giving it a certificate of compliance.

Kisumu City Manager Doris Ombara said the relocation will take two-and-a-half months.

According to Environment Executive Salmon Orimba, about 100 hydraulic trucks will transport the waste every day.

However, four petitioners are seeking a court injunction to stop the relocation of the dumpsite to a quarry pit in Kajulu pending the hearing and determination of the case on February 19.

They have accused the county of awarding the tender without carrying out an environmental impact assessment which is mandatory.

But Deputy Governor Mathews Owili and Senator Fred Outa have maintained that proper procedures were followed to acquire the quarry and that there was public participation.


Political class should spare Kenyans further theatrics 

The political intrigues facing this country and the attendant economic burden that they pose to the common man besets the hope of several Kenyans who depend entirely on the peaceful co-existence to transact their daily businesses.

The atmosphere that has been created by the political class is laying ground for anarchy to reign in the country. 

When the freedom of speech is curtailed, the masses suffer from lack of information and knowledge is suffocated.

The populace that is supposed to benefit from the Constitution that was promulgated in 2010 is gradually being driven to the periphery.

The electorate voted on the basis of development promise advanced by those seeking various offices. But what they expected is not what they are receiving.

When are Kenyans going to enjoy the fruits of their labour without fear and political turmoil? It is time leaders embarked on delivering on their promises and charting the way forward. This will only be possible if all the players in the country come to a round table and ventilate their issues in an environment that is devoid of suspicion and malice.

Kenyans want to move forward and not being held at ransom by a clique of individuals who are hell bent on assuming power by all means.

ERIC KIPKEMOI, Bomet.

Looking at the current political climate in Kenya, one begins to appreciate the vision of UN founders in 1945 after World War II.

Recognising there could be no security without development and vice versa, and there could be no development and security without respect for basic human rights and fundamental freedoms, the UN was formed to ensure a zero-sum situations for both winners and losers.

Every State party, big or small, industrial or agrarian would contribute proportionally towards creating and sustaining international peace.

The Constitution of Kenya 2010, just like the 1945 UN Charter, has these three elements at its core: security, development and human rights.

All of them are meant to progressively work towards the realisation of sustainable peace in Kenya. The current political situation has, however, halted this worthy course. Protracted politics is curtailing development.

Frustration of unemployed youths courtesy of the slow rate of development is enhancing crime, thus creating insecurity.

By purporting to control insecurity emerging from increased crime and heightened political virulence, the government on the hand is restricting some inalienable human rights.

Grievances are turning into greed with the aggrieved parties seeking self-interests at the expense of vulnerable Kenyans.

There is an urgent need for patriotic technocrats to look through the past seven years and identify where Kenya missed the step. The path we have chosen leads to a tunnel which has no light at the end.

Gachie Baraka, Naivasha.


State suspends passports of top Nasa leaders

By JUSTUS WANGA
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By SILAS APOLLO
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Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho, Siaya Senator James Orengo and former Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama are among Nasa politicians whose passports have been suspended by the State.

The coalition’s chief strategist, David Ndii, and businessman Jimi Wanjigi have also not been spared the purge as the government intensifies a crackdown on the opposition figures following a move to “swear in” its presidential candidate in the last elections Raila Odinga as “the people’s president” in a symbolic move of defiance.

In a letter addressed to the leaders, said to be 15 in total, the Director of Immigration Gordon Kihalang’wa said the revocation was done in line with Citizen and Immigration Act 2011 which gives grounds for the suspensions.

We were, however, unable to establish the identities of the other Nasa officials and supporters affected by the decision.

Speaking to Daily Nation Tuesday, Mr Muthama said officials from the immigration department delivered the letter informing him of the move to suspend his passport at 1 o’clock.

“We are seeing the making of dictatorship. They have no regard for the law because this is an assault on the Bill of Rights which is inalienable,” he said.

The former lawmaker, also a high ranking opposition leader, regretted that the arbitrary move had already inconvenienced him.

“I was meant to accompany my daughter to Britain today (yesterday) at 4 pm but now I can’t. This is a dangerous path the government has chosen and they must be stopped,” he said.

Nasa co-principal Kalonzo Musyoka termed the suspension of the passports for the top Nasa leaders and the shutdown on the media as characteristic of a regime in panic.

“The panic that is with this administration tells it all. They are muzzling the media because they do not want the truth, and they are now going to block people from travelling. But why the panic? If they are firmly in control, as they say, why panic?” Mr Musyoka asked at his party offices yesterday.

Dr Kihalang’wa consequently directed the opposition leaders to surrender their passports to the immigration offices at Nyayo House within 21 days, failing which, he says, the documents will be declared null and void.

“Pursuant to Section 31 of the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act 2011, you are hereby notified that the passport which is in your possession remains suspended forthwith,” reads the letter.

NON-EXISTENT LAW

Dr Ndii, in response to the order, accused the immigration director of using a non-existent section of the law to suspend his passport.

Dr Ndii said the law states that the government gives reasons for a suspension or revocation of a passport and that none has been given in his case.

“The police themselves have just said we are not in their radar so I don’t know what Immigration are basing their move on,” Dr Ndii said on the phone.

He said the move was part of the ongoing attempts by the government to take Kenya back to a dictatorship and called on Kenyans to “reclaim the country and restore democracy”.

“They have violated (political activist Miguna) Miguna’s rights and they violated mine with a malicious prosecution which is going nowhere. These are not things which happen in a civilised country,” he said.

Tuesday evening, reports indicated that Mr Joho had been admitted to a Mombasa hospital suffering from an unknown ailment.

There was tight security at a room where the ODM Deputy Party Leader was said to be hospitalised.

Section 31(1h) of the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act provides a wide latitude to the Director of Immigration to confiscate or suspend a passport or other travel document.


KRA is on a journey to deliver key digital services in customs

By JOHN NJIRAINI
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The concept of a digital customs is anchored on the Kenya Revenue Authority’s belief that technology holds the key to the successful tax administration.

The KRA has prioritised the development of technology solutions for all aspects of business, including front and back office operations.

First, the long-awaited Integrated Customs Management System (iCMS) is being rolled out.

To date, we have launched a system for air cargo operations and the management of air passenger declarations. Coverage of marine cargo operations should also be completed soon.

SIMBA SYSTEM REPLACED

The iCMS replaces the 12-year-old Simba system with key innovations, including automated valuation benchmarking, automated release of green-channel cargo, importer validation and declaration, and linkage with iTax.

The automated valuation-benchmarking feature enables customs to use in-built values to interrogate suspect declarations.

This will substantially address the problem of cargo undervaluation, which is a major source of revenue leakage. In future, cargo for taxpayers who hold Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status shall be system-released once the pre-determined in-built controls are validated.

This feature will add value to the AEO designation, besides drastically cutting down on clearance time.

In the past, importers did not have an opportunity to validate declarations done by clearing agents before their submission to customs. This lapse has enabled fraud, where importers are duped into paying money in excess of what KRA receives.

DECLARATIONS

The new importer declaration and validation feature will prevent fraud by enabling taxpayers to view declarations before they reach customs.

The iCMS also comes with a two-way iTax integration that enables data sharing on imports to enable follow-ups on domestic tax declarations.

Those who fail to make tax declarations will automatically be locked out. The same will apply for exporters.

Other key features, include the auto-population of customs declarations from shipping data, the creation of an online virtual auction that enables any Kenyan to bid at customs auctions and the provision of an automated tariff facility that empowers any person to make a customs declaration.

Soon, Kenyans will be able to make customs declarations without having to depend on clearing agents.

The second key initiative is the scanner integration project, whose objective is to enable customs to take electronic control over cargo scanning. This has enabled customs headquarters in Nairobi to supervise, and make decisions on scanning.

AVOID PHYSICAL CONTACT

First, we will address the challenge of avoiding physical contact between image analysts and cargo owners, which fuels corruption.

Secondly, we will develop centralised expertise in image analysis and decision-making. Thirdly, we shall establish effective control over scanning.

The Regional Electronic Cargo Tracking System (RECTS) launched in March last year has given customs complete visibility over transit cargo, not just within Kenya, but also across the entire Northern Corridor into Democratic Republic of Congo.

 This capability to monitor cargo has blocked diversion and improved transit times by eliminating driver-initiated delays.

The RECTS has been extended to the tracking of sensitive exports, especially tobacco and spirits that have also been the target of dumping. Today, the key goal is to ensure 100 per cent coverage for all transit cargo.

The KRA has in the past one year built a data centre to serve it for the next five years. 

These programmes are meant to provide KRA with electronic control over all its operations, enabling better resource mobilisation and public service delivery.

Mr Njiraini is the commissioner-general of the Kenya Revenue Authority. [email protected]