Fifth driver charged in fight against scrap metal smuggling – Business Daily
A fifth driver arrested smuggling scrap metal along the Namanga border has been charged and released on a Sh1 million cash bail for ferrying used batteries without licence.
This follows a government crackdown initiated in May that imposed a Sh10 million fine or a three-year jail term for those convicted of illegal dealing in scrap metals.
Since the order was made, police have intercepted and charged five truck drivers for illegally exporting scrap batteries to Tanzania in the past one month.
The latest arrest and prosecution come barely a week after police intercepted another truck along the Nairobi-Mombasa Road ferrying scrap batteries to the neighbouring country.
Daudi Sangunai was arrested along Nairobi- Mombasa Road at Makindu for ferrying scrap batteries without documentation.
“Our officers are on top of things we will deal with the unscrupulous traders, especially along the Nairobi- Mombasa road,” Catherine Njue, the Makueni County Criminal Investigation Officer, said.
The government set up a multi-agency team comprising officers from the national police, the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) and the Kenyan Revenue Authority (KRA) to crack down on illicit trade on scrap metal blamed on vandalism of critical national infrastructure such as electricity masts.
Last week, police arrested a driver and a truck registration number KCG 317L at Kimana area and detained at Loitoktok Police Station.
Peter Gichohi, the driver of truck registration number KCG 317L, denied the charges of transporting scrap metal illegally and was freed on a Sh1 million bond and a surety of a similar amount.
Battery Manufacturers Association now want the government to work with Tanzania’s authorities to end the illicit trade.
“This situation is getting serious and local manufacturers will run short of raw materials and will have to close down operations following increased smuggling of scrap batteries to Tanzania and Uganda,” Peter Wafula of the Battery Manufacturers Association said.
The government in May issued strict regulations that require licensed scrap metal dealers to transport their cargo between the prescribed time of 6.30 am and 6.30 pm.
The regulations were issued before the government lifted a January 20, 2022 ban that President Uhuru Kenyatta imposed on scrap metal business following increased vandalism of critical national assets including power transformers.
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