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38 KRA staff in tax evasion probe released on cash bail



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Thirty eight Kenya Revenue Authority employees, who were arrested and detained in a tax evasion scandal, were reprieved on Friday by the High Court’s decision to free them.

A court had ruled on Monday for their detention for two weeks as detectives carried out investigations following 75 arrests on May 10.

Justice Luka Kimaru freed the 38 on Sh200,000 cash bail each on Friday but said he will deliver the full ruling next Tuesday.

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) had asked the court to detain the suspects for 21 days but Senior Resident Magistrate Paul Mayova, who listened to pleas from both sides, said they would be held for 14 days.

The DCI noted that 48 officials were yet to be arrested yet investigations began four months ago.

As such, the directorate said, police needed time to complete the probe.

The 38, who had been in custody since May 10, claimed the allegations they faced were politically instigated and that their continued detention without charges was a violation of their rights.

They also noted that their interdiction meant they could not interfere with the investigation.

On May 10, KRA fired 75 employees and handed them over to police for allegedly facilitating tax evasion.

KRA, which is this year targeting a 40 percent growth in tax returns, has consistently missed its targets.

The reasons for this include tax-related misconduct such as theft, cheating in the declaration of return, corruption, collusion and soliciting bribes from tax cheats.

Later that day, Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji asked the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to probe the workers and their co-conspirators.

“The criminal scheme has occasioned a reduction in tax collections by KRA,” Mr Haji noted. “By their criminal conduct, they have betrayed public trust and KRA,” he added.

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