, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 23 – The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) says it is working closely with the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) to have the British American Tobacco (BAT) bribery scam linking the authority’s officials, completed quickly.
In an expose by the British Broadcasting Corporation, KRA officials are accused of taking huge bribes from BAT to make several tax demands from Mastermind Tobacco Limited, a Kenyan firm with the aim of intimidating and tarnishing the image of Mastermind.
But KRA Commissioner General John Njiraini maintains that the authority will continue to treat the matter as allegations like any other until the investigations are complete and the truth comes out.
“We have not accepted that what is being alleged happened. But we want it proven through this investigation. An allegation cannot become the truth just by the mere fact that it is published or uttered,” Njiraini said in a media briefing on Wednesday.
In the bribery scandal, BAT is also accused of recruiting Mastermind’s senior executives, who leaked sensitive information such as board meeting minutes, marketing plans as well confidential financial data among others.
However Njiraini called for patience for the investigations to be complete which he said will be “soonest”.
“We have to go through this investigations process. And that is why I am saying from the media perspective; from the public perspective, we would like people to give due process. There are many people who are accused of things but finally nothing is found. So let us be fair to ourselves,” he urged.
The saga comes in the wake of the KRA’s failure to meet its revenue targets of the 2015/2016 first quarter between July to September..
The KRA collected Sh152.7 billion in the first two months of the financial year, an amount the government described as unsatisfactory.
The KRA has an annual tax target of Sh1.2 trillion this year and failure to hit the number means the government will have to expand its borrowing plan.
But on Wednesday, Njiraini was quick to mention that low revenues should not be blamed to corruption scandals but what he termed as ‘low business environment.’
“There have been insinuations out there that the reasons why we are having challenges with revenues is because of corruption. But as I have explained before the challenge we are having this year in terms of performance relates to income taxes, Pay As You Earn and corporation taxes,” Njiraini said.
In October this year President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered a lifestyle audit of all KRA employees in an effort to stop rampant corruption at the authority something Njiraini said has already kickes and which will be long term.