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Queries over KRA role in irregular mineral exports


KRA Commissioner General Githii Mburu. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The taxman is on the spot over irregular exports of gold, gemstones and salt of unknown quantities and value, raising fears the country may have lost revenues.

The National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has given the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Commissioner-General Githii Mburu seven days to provide export permits for 27 entities that exported minerals valued at Sh140,138,850.

The committee met Mr Mburu and the Commissioner for Customs and Boarder Control Lilian Nyawanda to explain why firms were allowed to make irregular exports without government permits.

Mr Mburu was hard-pressed to explain whether the permits held by the KRA were legally issued by the Ministry of Mining as provided for under the Mining Act 2016.

Regulation 18 of the Mining Act (Dealings in Minerals) Regulations, 2017 provides that a person shall not export a mineral unless the person holds a permit granted by the Cabinet Secretary while Regulation 19 provides that a person shall not be qualified to apply for a permit to export minerals unless such a person is a holder of a mining licence, mining permit or a dealer’s permit.

Mr Mburu was at pains to explain why he had failed to act on a letter dated June 17, 2020 by Mining Principal Secretary Kirimi Kaberia drawing his attention to illegal mineral exports.

“The office of the Auditor-General, has brought to our attention a number of mineral exports in the calendar years 2018 and 2019 whose records at the State department for mining could not be traced

“This has raised the question of validity of this documents and we would like to make some follow up,” Mr Kaberia wrote.

He asked Mr Mburu to furnish the Mining department with export records of minerals through the port of Mombasa, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and any other port of exit in the period under review.

Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu had flagged the irregular exports in the Ministry of Mining audit for the financial year 2018/19.

On Wednesday, the committee chaired by Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi, rejected Mr Mburu responses that there were no irregular exports pertaining to gold, gemstones and salt.