Japanese agency warns of fraud in Kenya car imports

Second-hand cars alight from the Cargo ship at the port of Mombasa.

A Japanese trade agency is warning Kenyan buyers over rising fraud cases involving importation of used motor vehicles from the East Asian country. The Kenyan office of Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro) says most local importers are falling for promises of highly discounted prices only to end up losing money.

The agency now wants all second-hand vehicle importers to be contacting the local office in Nairobi before engaging with Japan-based dealers to avoid the risk of being defrauded.

“Almost every week we get about two to three calls from Kenyan importers on claims of fraudulent dealings purportedly from Japan-based dealers,” said Sotaro Nishikawa, Jetro executive director for Nairobi office.

“Some importers are lured by low prices and send money overseas without confirming the sellers’ trustworthiness and reliability, which leads to a high possibility of victimisation because money sent to these tricksters/fraudsters cannot be recovered.”  He added that the Nairobi office maintains a list of all genuine registered companies in Japan involved with the exportation of used motor vehicles.

Vehicles from Japan dominate the Kenyan second-hand car market, controlling more than 80 per cent stake.

Kenya imports about 90,000 used vehicles from Japan every year, making the East Asian country a crucial source market.

Japan Used Motor Vehicles Exporters Association (Jumvea), which brings together local importers, has also been pushing its members to use Jumvea safe trade system—a platform that consists of about 400 Japanese used car exporters.

The system acts as the bridge between worldwide importers of used cars and exporters in Japan, eliminating the risk of falling prey to fraudsters.

Source: Business Daily Africa