Arrest warrant for traders in tax evasion case

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A Nairobi court on Wednesday issued warrants for the arrest to 10 traders after they failed to appear in court to face charges related to tax evasion, which led to loss of millions to the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).

The traders were to appear in court after the Director of Public Prosecutions Renson Ingonga approved the charges against them for filing false purchases, thereby reducing their value-added tax (VAT) liability and income tax.

KRA has established that some firms engage in a tax fraud scheme commonly known as ‘missing trader’, which involves the use of fictitious invoices to depict a genuine business transaction where none exists.

The entities were exposed for mimicking genuine trade which requires that for every sale, there must be a corresponding purchase since a trader cannot purport to sell that which they have not acquired.

Mr Benson Otieno Kisero, Ms Eunice Opili Likuyani, both directors of Wise Pick Trading Limited, failed to appear in court to face charges of false purchases amounting to Sh11.8 million, a move that reduced their VAT liability by Sh1.8 million.

Another count stated they filed fake purchases amounting to Sh357 million, an offence allegedly committed between February 20, 2022, and January 20, 2023, thereby reducing their tax liability by Sh57 million.

Anti-corruption court Chief Magistrate Thomas Nzyoki also issued a warrant of arrest against Ms Jemimah Nasiche, the proprietor of Priteria Limited, who was accused of filing fake purchases amounting to Sh38.6 million, thereby reducing VAT liability by Sh6.1 million.

Others who failed to appear in court are Mr Douglas Kathurima Mwiti, Mr Saeed Sheikh Abdirahman, Sidoman Investments Limited, Christopher Odongo Asoka and his company Emergency Relief Supplies Limited, Ms Florence Wanjiku Muiruri, Mr Moses Boyi Odhiambo and Mr Daniel Ngugi.

Mr Michael Wafula Obunde, Mr Jesse Michael Muganda and Mr Clifford Otieno of Geo Freight Forwarders Ltd appeared in court and denied the charges related to tax evasion.

They were each released on a Sh200,000 bond. The case will be mentioned on July 2.

Ms Nasiche is also accused of filing fake purchases amounting to Sh107.6 million, an offence she allegedly committed between February 20, 2021, and January 20, 2022, thereby denying KRA Sh17.2 million.

Mr Thomas Githangi Kanyi also failed to appear in court forcing the magistrate to issue a warrant for his arrest. Mr Kanyi is accused of failing to include his income thereby occasioning a loss of Sh923,686 to the KRA.

The charge sheet further stated that in 2018, Mr Kanyi failed to include his income amounting to Sh45.8 million, a move that led to the loss of Sh13.6 million to the commissioner of income tax.

He was also accused of failure to register for VAT and pay Sh11 million to the taxman.

Ms Anastasia Wangui Ng’ang’a, faces similar charges of failing to include her income, which ought to have been included in the VAT returns.

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