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Wajir officials destroy contraband worth Sh4.5m from Somalia

BRUHAN MAKONGBy BRUHAN MAKONG
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Contraband goods worth Sh4.5 million, seized along Kenya-Somalia border a year ago, were destroyed by authorities Thursday at the Wajir dumpsite.

The assorted goods which included milk, sugar, and cooking oil among other items were burnt after a court order directing the destruction of the products.

The exercise comes only a few months after authorities destroyed another batch of smuggled goods valued at Sh4.9 million in the county.

Wajir East Deputy County Commissioner Omar Beja who oversaw the exercise said that the government won’t relent in their fight against illicit trade.

ILLEGAL PRODUCTS

“About two months ago, we destroyed another batch of illegal products and we will continue to destroy such products so that people may understand that the government won’t tire in its fight against illegal businesses,” said Mr Beja.

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Wajir County security team and multi-agency teams including officers from the Kenya Revenue Authority also witnessed the process.

Mr Beja added that smuggling of goods into the country continues to rob it of taxes, affecting the economy negatively, hence the need for tougher measures.

He noted that the Kenya-Somalia border is still closed for business at the moment, adding that any goods making it past the border are considered illegal.

The administrator warned the government will take stern action against all the business people engaging in contraband trade.

He, however, called on businessmen to be patriotic and abide by the country’s trade rules in their operations.

POROUS BORDER

Even as the government intensifies its fight against illicit goods, the porous border with Somalia and rampant insecurity has made it difficult to prevent such products from making its way into the country.

But, the DCC stated that the government has heightened security across the border by using specialized units to reinforce police efforts in sealing the illegal routes. A move he says is proving successful.

Mr Beja called on residents to work hand in hand with the authorities by sharing intelligence which he says will go a long way in helping the government combat the problem.

“I appeal to the residents to be on the lookout for such business people and report any illegal activities to the authorities for relevant action to be taken,” said Mr Beja.

The administrator said that they will step up their efforts by conducting impromptu raids in shops and any business person found culpable will be arrested and charged.