After drama that included detaining some staff and searching their houses, the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) on Friday fired 75 employees and handed them over to police for facilitating tax evasion.
Sixty two of the workers were arrested at the KRA’s Times Towers headquarters in the afternoon in a fresh corruption purge meant to plug leakages that cost the country billions of shillings in tax revenues.
KRA, which is this year targeting a 40 percent growth in tax returns, has consistently missed its targets.
The reasons for this include tax-related misconduct such as theft, cheating in the declaration of return, corruption, collusion and soliciting bribes from tax cheats.
The authority, which recently established an Intelligence and Strategic Operations Department to combat tax evasion, cracked the whip on Friday after four months of investigations.
“The practices in question include facilitation of fraudulent clearance of cargo, fraudulent amendment of tax returns so as to help taxpayers evade taxes and the irregular issuance of Tax Compliance Certificates,” the authority said in a statement.
The taxman said the bulk of the cases touched on staff based in Nairobi.
Sixty one of those arrested were from the domestic taxes department and 14 from customs and border control.
Those arrested in Nairobi were taken to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) for questioning and are expected to be presented in court on Monday.
In 2018, KRA fired 85 officers and instituted 15 cases of lifestyle audits for its staff on suspicion of aiding tax evasion.
In a statement later on Friday, Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji said he had asked the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to probe the KRA workers and their co-conspirators.
“The criminal scheme has occasioned a reduction in tax collections by KRA,” Mr Haji noted.
He placed the number of implicated employees in “senior and middle level management ” at 80 – 62 were in the domestic taxes department and 18 in customs and border control.
“By their criminal conduct, they have betrayed public trust and KRA,” the statement said.
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