Kenya: KRA Manager, His Wife in Court Over Sh38 Million Tax Evasion

A senior Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and his wife were charged Tuesday at the anti-corruption court with evading to pay Sh38.6 million in tax.

Joseph Chege Gikonyo, an assistant manager at KRA, his wife Lucy Kangai Stephen and their company Gichie Limited denied the charge before chief magistrate Lawrence Mugambi.

Chege and Kangai, who are both directors of Gichie Limited, were accused of failing to remit Sh38,692,694 to KRA arising from their company's taxable income and accrued penalties.

The alleged offence was committed between 2010 and 2015 in Mombasa County.

Their defence lawyers applied for their release on bond and argued that the prosecution of the two was an abuse of the court process since they have been paying the arrears claimed by KRA.

Chege was interdicted by KRA in 2016.

His lawyer told the court that the issues which led to his interdiction were resolved.

In 2016 the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) got and order and the suspect's bank accounts were frozen.

The defence team said that the high court made found that the accused has satisfactorily explained how he had acquired the properties which are owned by Gichie Limited.

The magistrate heard that EACC further commenced another case under the Anti-Corruption Economic Crimes Act (ACECA) in 2018 which was determined by Justice Hedwig Ong'udi.

The defence team further argued that the issues of tax evasion have nothing to do with the graft case which the couple faces now.

EACC officers picked the suspects from ther residence in Mombasa then bundled them into a car despite the Covid-19 pandemic and drove him to Nairobi to face trial.

He applied for their release on reasonable bail terms.

But State prosecutor Annette Wangia said the matter before court involves evasion of taxes and not freezing of bank accounts.

"It is clear from the charge sheet that the issue before court is purely on tax evasion and will be canvassed properly by the trial court," she said.

The state did not oppose the couple being released on bond but urged the court to consider the unpaid tax while granting bond.

The court released the suspects on a cash bail of Sh5 million each saying the amount is commensurate to the amount claimed in tax.

"The amounts involved are huge and bail must be commensurate with the claim involved so that the public can have confidence with the administration of justice," Mr Mugambi ruled.

The case will be mentioned in July 13 for a pretrial directions.

The accused were directed to deposit their travel documents in court and warned against leaving the jurisdiction of the court without permission.

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