KRA busts tax evasion scam involving foreign registered vehicles

The Mombasa Law Courts.

Photo credit: Wachira Mwangi I Nation Media Group

Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) is pursuing a tax evasion scheme involving unscrupulous people who are facilitating registration of vehicles without payment of taxes.

The taxman has said that in the uncovered scheme, the crooked people use forged documents to facilitate foreign-registered vehicles to operate in the country without paying requisite taxes.

To facilitate the dirty trick, investigators from KRA have revealed that the culprits use false payment slips to facilitate the clearance of foreign-registered vehicles, thus evading payment of transit road toll fees.

The revelation comes a day after KRA officers pounced on a clearing agent whom they claim is facilitating the tax evasion scheme.

Mr Geoffrey Onyancha Otara has been charged with presenting false documents.

The charge sheet prepared by KRA indicates that the suspect jointly with others still at large unlawfully presented false documents namely a F147, to the Commissioner of Customs and Border Control which he knew or ought to have known to be false.

Mr Otara also faced a second offence, where KRA has accused him of conspiring with others to unlawfully use a false document to evade taxes contrary to the law.

The suspect is alleged to have committed the offence on or about March 22, at Lunga Lunga One Stop Border Post (OSBP) in Kwale County.

The suspect has been identified in court documents as a representative of an exporter Pwani Hauliers Ltd.

Investigations by the taxman have disclosed that the exporter had appointed the suspect to facilitate movement of their trucks from Tanzania into and out of Kenya through Lunga Lunga OSBP.

KRA has claimed that the suspect had been issued with funds to pay requisite duties but decided to forge payment slips, which he presented as genuine documents.

“KRA is determined to detect and disrupt tax evasion schemes and prosecute criminals who engage in fraud at our borders to make sure that all people pay their fair share of taxes to the government,” “KRA said in a statement.

Mr Otara denied committing the offence when he appeared before Kwale Resident Magistrate Christine Auka.

He has been released on a Sh70, 000 bond with one surety of a similar amount, with an alternative cash bail of Sh40, 000.

The exposé comes barely a month after the taxman unearthed another syndicate involving exportation of hides and skins without payment of taxes to the government.

According KRA, the unscrupulous traders behind the scandal export locally sources hides and skins as transit cargo originating from South Sudan.

One suspect Mr Onywa Caleb Orwa has been charged in court in relation to the syndicate.

The government has accused him of denying it Sh1.7 million revenue, by false declaration of goods at the Mombasa port.

He has been accused of falsely declaring 6,000 pieces of dried hides and skins sourced locally but declared as transit goods from South Sudan.

The taxman has said that on September 21, last year, its investigation and enforcement officers seized a 40 feet container with hides and skins declared as transit cargo for export to Nigeria.

Further investigations, however, revealed that the goods never originated from South Sudan, but were instead gathered locally.