Police impound Ksh30m smuggled cigarettes in a Nairobi residential house
By Joshua Cheloti
A multi-agency team in Nairobi on Tuesday busted a syndicate believed to have been involved in the smuggling of cigarettes into the county.
The team based at the Economic and Commercial Crimes Unit nabbed over 20,000 packets of cigarettes believed to have been smuggled.
According to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), the cigarettes were seized following an operation at a residential house in Kahawa West, in Nairobi.
The nabbed cigarettes are valued at over Ksh30 million.
“The consignment comprising of over 20,000 packets of popular Supermatch and Palma Safari cigarettes brands was seized by the undercover team posing as potential clients at a residential house along Riara road, near Shra Engineering in Kahawa West, Nairobi County,” the DCI said in a statement on their verified social media pages.
Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) officials were involved in the operation.
During the operation, the multi-agency team also recovered assorted counterfeit stamps from the Kenya Revenue Authority and Uganda Revenue Authority.
Further, empty cigarette cartons labelled British American Tobacco (BAT) Kenya and Supermatch were found at the residential building.
One suspect identified as Veronica Njeri Kariuki was also arrested during the operation.
The DCI says she was being detained at Muthaiga police station, “where she is assisting detectives with investigations before being arraigned in court.”
“The total tax lost through the smuggled cigarettes is estimated at Ksh18 Million,” the police said.
A multi-agency team led by the KRA in collaboration with other government agencies has been carrying out intelligence operations and crackdowns to stamp out illicit goods from the market.
The operation started in November 2022.
According to KRA, the fight against illicit trade seeks to protect the public from harmful goods, create fair market competition and protect revenue.