75 KRA tax officials arrested on suspicion of corruption

KRA office located at Times Towers in Nairobi
File photo of KRA headquarters located at Times Towers in Nairobi. PHOTO| COURTESY

75 Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) staff were arrested on Friday on suspicion of abetting tax evasion and bribery.

The move is the latest effort by KRA and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution in the fight against corruption.

“Investigations into the rackets have been in progress for the last four months with covert assistance provided by national law enforcement agencies to help in trailing money and communication,” a statement from KRA said.

The 75 suspects have not been charged and are being questioned, the statement added.

DPP Noordin Haji later released a statement saying a number of them are alleged to have colluded with certain individuals to evade payment of taxes and reduce tax liability.

Haji revealed that out of all the senior and middle level management officers under investigation, 62 of them are from the Domestic Taxes Department and 18 are from the Customs and Border Control Department.

They are accused of helping to fraudulently clear cargo and alter tax returns to help people dodge tax payments, the KRA said.

It is not clear as to how much revenue was lost.

The arrests come as the government is struggling to raise tax revenues to fund its budget.

Dozens of Kenyan government officials and business people have appeared in court since May 2018.

This is on charges relating to the alleged theft of hundreds of millions of shillings from public coffers in a new drive to tackle widespread graft.

President Uhuru Kenyatta promised to stamp out graft when he was first elected in 2013, but critics say he has been slow to pursue top officials.

There have been few high profile convictions since he took office.

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Story By Reuters
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