Panic gripped the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) offices in Mombasa after Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) officers raided the headquarters for further investigations on tax evasion Tuesday.
The DCI detectives were accompanied by officers from the KRA Revenue Protection Services unit.
“There was tension when the officers were seen walking around. Some staff started excusing themselves to go to the toilet while others were busy ‘doing nothing’ the moment the team walked in,” said a source who works at the Mombasa offices, famously known as the long room.
KRA’s Coast region coordinator Nicholas Kinoti acknowledged that the presence of the officers sent shivers among his staff. He, however, noted that the officers were there for a “normal” routine check on an old matter they have been following.
“Yes there was some disquiet, but its normal for the DCI officers to be around,. The panic was there because of the recent happenings, but all has been well. There’s no cause for alarm; we’re dispensing our work well,” Mr Kinoti said.
Four officers from the KRA’s Pre-Export Verification of Conformity are among those who were arrested during last week’s crackdown. They are police officers who subsequently work for KRA.
Mr Kinoti said the four were working under the same unit, which cooperates with the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) that checks the quality of goods entering the country.
“The whole unit was swept, but we’ve since filled the gap by putting in other officials and work is running smoothly,” Mr Kinoti said.
A senior DCI officer who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Nation that the officers were following up on recent arrests.
“Some officers are from Nairobi. The investigations are still on and they’ve been visiting several places,” the source said.
This comes as a Mombasa court on Monday ordered DCI boss George Kinoti to transfer to Nairobi three KRA employees in the next 24 hours, which elapsed Tuesday.
Mombasa Senior Resident Magistrate Edgar Kagoni declined to allow the investigators to hold the three suspects for 21 days to enable them finalise their investigations as they had sought.
“Since the investigators intend to charge them in Nairobi, the police have 24 hours to transfer the suspects for the purposes of plea taking,” the magistrate said.
Ms Tabitha Noelle Wekesa, Ms Carol Lijuma Lugaliki and Ms Saraphine Okobola Anamanjia are among KRA staff who were arrested.
This came as a Nairobi court directed that those arrested be detained for two weeks as probe continues.