Kenya Revenue Authority to hire spies in clamp-down on tax cartels

Kenya Revenue Authority Commissioner-General John Njiraini

The Kenya Revenue Authority is in the process of hiring officials with a background in intelligence gathering and crime investigation as it prepares to crack down on tax evasion cartels.

The taxman said yesterday that increased use of intelligence-gathering tools and personnel would boost the investigation of individuals and companies suspected of engaging in tax and financial crimes and lead to more convictions.

Government revenues

Tax fraud, the agency said, was to blame for loss of government revenues.

Commissioner-General John Njiraini said the authority planned to start hiring investigative and intelligence officials.

Currently the commission relies on auditors, volunteers, and whistle blowers to investigate tax crimes.

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Mr Njiraini said, KRA would also train afresh its auditors involved in tracking tax fraud.

He said the agency in March this year established a fully-fledged department to be jointly run by the auditors and the investigators, with the expectation that this would help bust tax evasion cartels.

“We have commenced the process to recruit intelligence collection personnel,” said Mr Njiraini.

He spoke in Nairobi at a forum to train tax and financial fraud investigators from East Africa.

“We have also been strengthening our capacity through the professionalisation of our investigation teams. Previously, most of our investigators came from tax audit backgrounds.

“Going forward, our recruitment strategy will target acquisition of staff with the right background, both in crime investigation and tax administration.”

Crime investigation

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He said KRA was also deploying more technology to assist the department to get more information from volunteers and whistle blowers as well as help in the processing of information gathered by its intelligence teams.

“Unlike before when we depended on volunteers to supply intelligence, we have embarked on a programme to actively source intelligence to support tax enforcement. This will entail investment in conventional intelligence collection resources including people and technology,” he said.

It is estimated that African governments annually collectively lose $50 billion (Sh5 trillion) in tax revenue. 

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