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Economy

KRA turns its guns on staff in tax evasion crackdown

Githii Mburu
KRA Commissioner General Githii Mburu. FILE PHOTO / NMG 

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has trained its ammunitions on its staff warning that insiders aiding a multibillion evasion scheme will soon be smoked out. This happened on the day detectives picked Keroche bosses in a Sh14.4billion tax row.

KRA Commissioner General Githii Mburu on Thursday said apart from an ongoing internal investigations at the Times Tower, names of staff involved in the evasion network will be forwarded for prosecution.

“We are working with other law enforcement agencies in ensuring that those of our staff who aid tax evasion are prosecuted jointly with the taxpayers they have aided,” Mr Mburu said in a statement.

“We have sought the support of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations in ensuring that all KRA staff who aid tax evasion are promptly investigated and their cases forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP).”

Mr Mburu made the statement on the same day that businesswoman Tabitha Karanja and her husband Joseph Karanja were arrested to face tax evasion charges involving their alcoholic products since 2015.

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In an audit that Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji has relied on to build the case, the KRA claims that Keroche Breweries has evaded payment taxes from 2015.

On Thursday, the taxman said majority of its staff were honest but added that the few engaging in corruption would be punished through prosecution and internal disciplinary processes.

The arrest of Keroche founders comes barely a week after billionaire Humphrey Kariuki was charged over similar tax evasion schemes said to have bled KRA Sh41 billion over the same period.

Tax officers who have been overseeing the tightly controlled alcohol industry where KRA has a real-time production monitoring machines installed in every licensed manufacturer’s production line now face lifestyle audit.

“We will also share information on those who have wealth that is not consistent with their known sources of income with the Asset Recovery Agency (ARA) and the Ethics & Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) for appropriate action,” Mr Mburu wrote

The tax man has a team of over 100 market surveillance officers to monitor alcohol manufacturing apart from the Sh17 billion Excisable Goods Management System (EGMS) which KRA procured from a Swiss multinational, SICPA Securities Solutions that is meant to transmit real time data to times tower on every production line for tax computation.

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