You can run but you can’t fly.
BY HENRY MARETE – This was new KRA Commissioner General James Mburu’s rather ominous message to those evading taxes, as well unscrupulous KRA officials aiding the commission of the crime, when he appeared for his first live interview on Citizen TV’s Newsnight Programme on Tuesday.
The newly-appointed chief taxman, echoing similar warnings issued this week by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji said days were numbered for individuals and businesses that continue to fleece the Government of much needed revenue to fund development and service delivery.
“If we all pay our taxes, there will be no need for the Government to run huge budget deficits and overburden Kenyans with debt. Right now I have a team looking at the issue of individuals and companies supplying counties with goods and services, but not remitting any taxes”, Mburu said.
He said reforms being carried out at KRA, including digital processes, will ensure every Kenyan pays their fair share of taxes and that ongoing internal and external audits at Times Tower will net KRA officials colluding with tax cheats, who will then ‘soon’ be arrested and prosecuted.
“As I speak to you tonight, we have a covert and overt army collecting information out there. Data is being collected. You will be cornered. Everybody should come out and pay their taxes; – not a shilling more, not a shilling less’, Mburu warned.
The taxman is projecting to recover upwards of Ksh. 250 Billion shillings in the ongoing swoop on tax evaders, including employers suspected of deducting Pay-As-You-Earn from their employees but not remitting the money to KRA.
Last week, Keroche Industries directors Tabitha Karanja and her husband Joseph were arrested and arraigned over Ksh.14.5B the local brewer is suspected to have evaded paying. Also facing similar charges in which the State claims to have lost Ksh. 41B in tax revenue are top officials of Africa Spirits and Wines Limited and Wow Beverages Limited, including billionaire Humphrey Kariuki.