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Transportation and Customs agents working at the dry port in Mojo received a rude awakening when the yarn they were expecting to find in containers surprisingly turned out to be rocks.
Two cargo containers expected to contain yarn when they were transported from China were in fact, full of crushed stone (gravel) when they were opened at Mojo Dry Port, 80km east of Addis Ababa.
The gravel filled containers were supposed to be KK Plc’s yarn. The local firm produces textiles and is a major supplier of textile inputs for traditional clothing factories.
Sources said that the containers were being transferred to the dry port via the port of Djibouti from China. Sources added that the issue is still under investigation by relevant offices such as the Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority (ERCA) and the Ethiopian Shipping and Logistics Services Enterprise (ESLSE).
The main investigation is focusing on where and how the yarn was replaced with gravel.
Reliable sources indicated that the company has already written a letter to relevant government bodies including the Chinese Embassy in Ethiopia, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and ESLSE to obtain clarification about the issue.
The containers arrived at the dry port on Friday September 19. The gravel was noticed almost immediately thereafter when the containers were opened in the presence of customs officers at the same day.
“The identification number of the containers is the same with the declaration and it was sealed,” witnesses, who asked to remain anonymous, told Capital.
“This type of fraud is very rare,” they added.
Sources said that the containers passed several ERCA checking points like the Mile truck Scanner Station.
They added that the company is asking for compensation from United Insurance Company. The company is claiming that the content switch is expected to cost them around four million birr.
ERCA officials at Mojo Dry Port, who requested anonymity, told Capital that they saw that the two 40 foot containers were filled with gravel. According to ERCA officials, the cargo was registered as containing raw material for blanket production.
The officials said that the issue is being investigated by the main office at ERCA.
Officials of KK Plc declined to comment about the issue.
The owner of the company Kebede Ketema, a prominent businessman, has been in custody since May of last year under charges of tax invasion and illegal banking with former ERCA head Melaku Fenta and others businesspeople and high tax authority officials. The case of these officials and business people is still under the court process.
Currently, KK Plc has two blanket factories and one acrylic yarn dyeing plant. It is also engaged in the import and distribution of heavy duty machines and equipment for mining, construction, road construction, quarrying, stone crushing, and many others.