Officers of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) on Monday arrested two Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) officials for allegedly soliciting a Sh1 million bribe from a trader based in Mwea, Kirinyaga County.
Charles Rasugu, the EACC's central manager, said the officials sought the bribe in order to facilitate the hospital proprietor's tax evasion.
He identified them as Mr George Kimani Gachuki, a revenue officer from Nyeri, and Stephen Okelo, whose position at their Embu office he could not reveal immediately.
Mr Rasugu said that the trader, whom he did not name for legal reasons, contacted them with the complaint about a week ago so a joint operation was launched.
“The hospital had tax arrears of Sh2.5 million and the two officials were [helping the] businessman to avoid paying. They are alleged to have advised him to pay Sh500,000 to the KRA, give them Sh1 million and be left with Sh1 million, he explained.
“They had already received a bribe of Sh550,000. We arrested them as they went to collect the balance,” he told the Nation.
He said it was Mr Kimani who had gone to collect the balance of Sh450,000 when EACC detectives swung into action at about 3pm.
The two were taken to the Nyeri and Embu police stations for interrogation.
“The Office of Director of Public Prosecution will determine whether they will be charged in court,” the central boss said.
The EACC, KRA and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations have recently made several arrests over suspected tax evasion plots.
In December 2018, DPP Noordin Haji directed that 18 individuals be charged with various offences relating to tax evasion, which has led to perennial shortfall in KRA collections.
Among the accused were Kenya Bureau of Standards chief executive Charles Ongwae and former Quality Assurance director Eric Kiptoo.
Manufacturers of alcoholic drinks are also facing the accusation of avoiding tax payments - the DCI is looking into companies including Africa Spirits Limited, Platinum Distillers Limited and Two Cousins Distillers-Munene Industry.
Mr Rasugu noted that complaints of bribery are common at the government’s revenue collection points and noted the negative impact on the economy.