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Economy

KRA seeks more details on BAT bribery scandal

Kenya Revenue Authority headquarters in Nairobi. PHOTO | FILE
Kenya Revenue Authority headquarters in Nairobi. PHOTO | FILE 

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) is working with UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and the BBC to get details of allegations linking the parastatal to the British American Tobacco bribery scam.

The revenue body said in a statement Sunday that Mary M’Mukindia, who is alleged to have been the conduit for a cash bribe to former cabinet minister and 2013 presidential candidate Martha Karua, was not a member of its board at the time the bribery is claimed to have taken place.

“The KRA is working with the Serious Fraud Office of the UK and the BBC to get the people involved in the scam and if found culpable, they will be convicted as per the law. Mary M’Mukindia was not a board member then,” said KRA in the statement.

A former BAT employee, Paul Hopkins, alleged in a BBC report that BAT routinely bribed officials – including politicians and the KRA – to advance its interests.

The report alleged that Ms Karua received Sh7.7 million (50,000 sterling pounds) from BAT to prevent a rival company from supplying the KRA with the technology for detecting smuggled cigarettes.

BAT is said to have obtained confidential KRA information relating to the supply tender.

But Ms Karua says that she received a Sh2 million donation from Mr Hopkins for her presidential campaign and denied that it was a bribe from BAT.

The accusation against Ms Karua comes shortly after a fellow politician and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula was alleged to have received bribes from the same company.

Mr Wetang’ula has denied the claims and threatened to sue BBC.

In a report appearing in the Sunday Nation yesterday, Ms Karua was quoted as saying that she never discussed any KRA tenders and that anyone who might have accepted a donation in exchange for influence in the government did so without her knowledge.

“My recollection is that Paul’s donation was about Sh2 million. If any person within my campaign team or beyond purported to accept a donation in exchange for influence of government procurement (they were) acting beyond the scope of their authority, without my knowledge and in their individual capacity not for me or my campaign,” she said.

This story has been edited to clarify that Moses Wetang’ula is the Bungoma Senator.

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