Equity Bank on Wednesday disclosed that it had given in two of its employees alleged to have colluded with officials of the Kenya Revenue Authority, in a fraud scheme that saw the revenue collector lose over Sh124 Million.
The bank surrendered its staff members to the KRA and Banking Fraud Investigation Unit police for prosecution, following revelations that the taxman may have lost billions of shillings in a tax evasion scheme that has sucked in several banks.
A statement from the bank cited: "Equity has zero tolerance to bribery, corruption and facilitation payments across the business and will continue to co-operate with the police and the legal process as the issue continues to unfold".
The Equity Bank staffers and some KRA employees are set to face prosecution over their role in a case at Namanga, where KRA reportedly lost Sh124 Million in import duty.
The suspects are accused of manipulating the KRA's Simba system to show that customers importing goods had settled their tax obligations, when in reality they had not, thus allowing goods to be cleared and released from the ports of entry, with the ring sharing the loot.
The taxman indicated that the ongoing probe revolves around a tax evasion ring, which was discovered late last year but investigations had been slowed down due to cover-up incidents.
"This office has been investigating allegations that the subject agent banks have been facilitating manipulation of the Simba system to the effect that Customs entries that have not been paid for are reflected as having been paid for... The irregular payment information is then relied upon by the DPC (Document Processing Centre) to pass the entries and the goods are then released," one of the internal KRA memos read in part.
A report by The Standard indicated, that up to Sh68 Billion could be the subject of investigations by the taxman over a three-year period involving the tax collecting agents.
Apart from Equity bank, KRA will also scrutinize the Kenya Commercial Bank and the National Bank of Kenya, which are among the big banks authorised to collect revenue on behalf of the taxman at the ports.