40 Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) staff who were arrested on May 10 for allegedly abetting tax evasion suffered a blow in court after they sought orders to have their case terminated.
Justice Luka Kimaru dented the hopes of the employees who wanted the court to quash their charges and permanently halt their prosecution.
The judge dismissed the application stating that he was not convinced by the argument fronted by the employees who are facing taxation, economic and money laundering charges.
The suspects had filed the petition detailing that the case was null and void as the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) had no powers to investigate tax issues.Kenya Revenue Authority Offices along Mombasa Road, Nairobi.
They added that the case was way beyond the jurisdiction of DCI. Justice Kimaru further dismissed allegations that the prosecution intentionally delayed the trial by over a year hence denying them justice.
The judge stated that the suspects too contributed to the alleged delay as they had filed numerous suits against the case, which were to be heard and ruled on first before the main trial proceeded.
At the time of their arrests, the suspects’ laptops, phones, and other electronic gadgets were seized and are yet to be subjected to forensic examination.
Investigators alleged that evidence gathered so far indicated that the suspects were actively involved and colluded with certain taxpayers in a criminal enterprise to evade payment of taxes or to reduce tax liability.
The tax evasion syndicate that led to the arrest was reportedly unearthed by spies who were planted inside the organisation by the DCI as interns. Investigations revealed that within two months, the employees at the centre of the syndicate had collected bribes of up to Ksh40 million.
In August 2020, KRA Commissioner General Githii Mburu said that unscrupulous individuals and organised crime perpetrators had hatched ways to conduct business without paying due taxes, leaving the agency no other alternative other than apprehending them.
"We lose money every year and the entities mentioned have been earmarked for further investigations and legal action for non-compliance. To mitigate against these crimes, tax authorities and government agencies dealing in financial investigations have heightened efforts to outsmart the tax cheats," Mburu stated in a notice seen by Kenyans.co,ke.
The agency flagged the rich with an unexplained source of wealth who live lavish lives by purchasing palatial homes and multi-million worth vehicles but fail to declare their sources of income.
The suspects, if found guilty, will face travel bans, asset freeze and deactivation of Personal Identification Numbers (PINs).Times Tower, KRA headquarters in NairobiFile
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