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Ruto lectures KRA staff on corruption and facilitating tax evasion

President William Ruto was the first customer at the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) on Friday morning, filing his tax returns at Times Tower.

After being guided through the process, the President interacted with staff before delivering his speech.

Judging by his expression, the President was not as happy and jovial as he has been on other occasions.

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This time the President lectured the officials for being the stumbling block in his agenda by being at the forefront of bribery and facilitating tax evasion.

“I must tell you that collusion, wanton bribery and general corruption continue to pervade the operations of the KRA. Facilitating tax evasion, massive leakages of potential revenue and inability to meet revenue targets,” the President said.

He repeated the same message to the staff, saying that what he was referring to was the truth, which all the Times Tower staff knew.

The President said the staff encouraged many people in the country not to pay their taxes.

“You know very well that we could collect more money than what we are doing but because we have staff in KRA who are not working for the Government of Kenya, they are working for themselves and they are working for other entities and their biggest job is to assist taxpayers to evade paying taxes and there are many of them.”

He suggested that if Kenyans were asked about KRA members who help them evade taxes, very few would remain in office.

The President also added that the KRA has not used or embraced digital mechanisms to capitalise on tax collection.

“The KRA has met with a lot of resistance [in adopting technology] from staff because technology will make it easy for taxpayers to pay and there wouldn’t be an opportunity for people to collude and evade taxes.”

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He added that people inside the Times Tower had sabotaged plans to introduce technology solutions.

“We suggest that arbitrary, opaque and essentially corruptible methods of revenue collection are the preferred modus operandi. It is expected that high costs will be used as an excuse.”

President Ruto said his meeting with KRA staff was necessitated by the responsibility Kenyans have given him, which his government will only fulfil if KRA collects what is expected of it.

The President also said he has been sensitising Kenyans to pay their taxes, but some wonder if their taxes are not being stolen by some corrupt officials in government offices.

“I will take personal responsibility for the security and proper use of public resources of the people of Kenya. This is the only way they can continue to pay their taxes legitimately”.

The Head of State said that if the KRA is transformed, it will benefit the country as it can achieve its development plans.

Ruto made a categorical pledge to those implicated in the Times Tower corruption scandal, assuring them that bribery would not be tolerated under his administration.

Also read: Ruto puts tax evaders on notice