KRA staff charged with corruption granted Sh200,000 bail
The 35 Kenya Revenue Authority employees have been granted a Sh200,000 cash bail or a Sh1 million bond.
Appearing before Milimani Anti-Corruption court magistrate Douglas Ogoti, all the accused denied several charges, among them corruption, abetting tax evasion, abuse of office, making false entries, receiving a bribe, money laundering and conspiracy to commit an offence of corruption.
They were charged in over 19 separate files depending on the people they helped dodge tax payments at KRA by fraudulently clearing cargo and altering tax returns.
Among those charged include Melda Atieno (iTax support officer), Ronald Otieno, Daisy Kemunto, Fernandes Mutui, Lucas Kung’u, Edward Ngugi, David Mobegi and Zipporah Omambia.
They are alleged to have committed the offences on diverse dates between October 2018 and April last year.
Ogoti has barred the suspects from accessing KRA offices and ordered them to deposit their passport with the court.
Accused have also been prohibited from making any attempts to approach or interfere with any witnesses as this would lead to automatic cancellation of bond terms.
State Counsel Eva Kanyuira said the prosecution will not oppose their release, but asked for stringent bail terms.
Suspects are said to have helped the following companies evade tax by issuing them with Tax Compliance Certificates.
They include Golden Shield Ltd, Amber Construction, Beulah Hotels Ltd and Golden Shield General Supplies. They are alleged to have helped people and firms to avoid paying taxes ranging from Sh160,000 to Sh2,000.
Court heard that on October 2, 2018 Mobegi and Zipporah Omambia, being officers at the Department of Domestic Taxes, conspired to commit an offence of corruption; namely bribery by agreeing to receive Sh10,000 from Antony Karanja to facilitate irregular issuance of a Tax Compliance Certificate in respect of Beulah Hotels Ltd.
And another taxpayer whose director, Susan Njenga, who had outstanding tax liabilities amounting to Sh159,121.
They were charged after the High Court on Friday dismissed their application to stop their prosecution and ordered their Sh200,000 cash bail refunded once they were charged.
In his ruling, Justice Luka Kimaru rejected their application to quash their prosecution saying he was not persuaded by the argument that the intended trial was a nullity because office of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, who does not have jurisdiction to probe such matters, conducted the investigations against them.
“This court does not have jurisdiction at that stage of proceedings to give any direction on how investigations or decision to charge should be undertaken,” ruled the judge.
The 35 were arrested in May last year after claims that they were acting in cahoots with taxpayers to deny the government revenue. The case will be mentioned on December 1.