There was panic at the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) offices in Mombasa Tuesday after detectives visited the headquarters for further probe on a tax evasion scandal.
The Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) detectives were accompanied by officers from the Revenue Protection Services which is a unit of the KRA.
“There was tension when the officers were seen walking around. Some staff started excusing themselves to go to the toilet while others were busy “doing nothing” the moment the team walked in,” said a highly place source who works at the Mombasa offices famously known as the “long room”.
Thirty- eight KRA staff are in police custody as detectives conduct investigation over allegations of tax evasion and money laundering.
KRA’s coast region coordinator Nicholas Kinoti acknowledged that the presence of the officers caused panic among his staff.
Mr Kinoti, however, noted that the officers were there for a “normal” routine check on an old matter that they have been following. “Yes there was some disquiet but its normal for the DCI officers to be around, we usually work with them. The panic was there because of the recent happenings but all has been well. There is no cause for alarm, we are dispensing our work well,” said Mr Kinoti at his office.
Four officers from the KRA’s Pre-Export Verification of Conformity (PVOC) are among those who were arrested during last week’s crackdown by DCI.
The officials at the authority’s protection service unit are police officers who work for KRA.
Mr Kinoti said the four were working under the same unit which cooperates with Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) on standards of the goods being imported into the country.
“The whole unit was swept but we have since fill the gap by putting in other officials and work is running smoothly,” said Mr Kinoti.
A senior DCI officer who spoke on condition of anonymity said the officers were at the KRA offices to follow up on the recent arrests.
Our source said some other detectives from the DCI also visited Mombasa to follow leads on the case.
“Some officers are from Nairobi. The investigations are still on and they have been visiting several places,” he said.
This comes as a Mombasa court on Monday directed the Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti to transfer to Nairobi three KRA employees in the next 24 hours which elapsed today.
Mombasa Senior Resident Magistrate Edgar Kagoni had declined to allow the investigators to hold the three suspects for 21 days to enable them finalise their investigations as they had initially sought.
“Since the investigators intends to charge them in Nairobi, the police have 24 hours to transfer the suspects for the purposes of plea taking,” the magistrate said.