KRA allays fears of service hitch on staff go-slow reports over arrests
Tuesday, May 14, 2019 20:44
By JOHN MUTUA
Kenya Revenue Authority on Tuesday allayed fears of service interruptions amid reports of staff at the agency planning a go-slow to protest the arrest of their colleagues for abetting tax evasion and bribery.
The KRA said in a statement services at the agency would continue uninterrupted and that the arrests did not target specific individuals but those behind tax evasion.
The statement came a day after intelligence reports retrieved from staff WhatsApp messages revealed plans of a go-slow as 48 KRA workers remain on the run.
“The board treats incidents of tax evasion as serious crimes that demand resolute action against taxpayers and staff members who may abet such practices….and assures the public the operations of the KRA continue uninterrupted,” the agency said Tuesday.
The 38 KRA employees arrested on Friday will remain in police custody for 14 more days.
The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) had asked the court to have the suspects detained for 21 days, saying detectives need more time to retrieve data from 178 seized mobile phones and laptops as well as M-Pesa statements for forensic examination.
The DCI also argued that 48 more KRA staff were on the run and that they could interfere with investigations.
The staff, who work in the domestic tax department and customs and border control, are accused f helping to fraudulently clear cargo and alter returns to help people dodge tax payments.
The agency did not say how much revenue had been lost.
The detentions come as the government struggles to raise tax revenues to fund its budget. The State was short of its revenue target by Sh97.7 billion in the nine months to March.
The KRA on Friday said 75 workers had been interdicted for abetting tax evasion after being under covert watch for four months involving trailing their money and communication, known as wiretapping.