Mombasa businessmen read malice in arrests of KRA officials
May. 15, 2019
Mombasa businessmen have raised concerns over the recent arrests of over 80 Kenya Revenue Authority officials by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.
On Monday, some 38 KRA officials were arraigned in court, but did not take pleas.
The police were allowed to hold them for another 14 days as they continue with their investigations.
However, businessmen in Mombasa and some KRA officials, believe that some senior KRA officials are involved in the arrests of their juniors.
According to several sources, who sought anonymity over the matter, some top KRA officials, who are in the race to succeed KRA Commissioner-General John Njiraini, planned the arrest of their juniors so that they can be seen to be working.
“This whole issue is about who will replace Njiraini. Some senior officials want to be seen as performers. They have choreographed the arrests of their juniors so that they can be seen as suitable candidates to replace the outgoing commissioner general,” said one of the businessmen.
The tenure of Njiraini is set to come to an end in June, which has now opened the succession race at one of Kenya’s top public offices.
According to sources, James Mburu, who is KRA Commissioner for Intelligence and Strategic Operations, is one of the top KRA officials behind the arrests of his colleagues.
“He is among those eyeing to take over from Njiraini. He is the one behind all these arrests you have witnessed because he wants to be seen as a performer,” said a source.
On Monday, intelligence sources said that KRA officials are planning a go-slow over the arrests of their colleagues by the DCI.
“They want to argue that because many people have been arrested and interdicted, the workload has increased and they will not be able to collect taxes efficiently,” said a source.
However, KRA has come out to reassure its officers that the arrests were not a witch hunt.
According to Francis Muthaura, the KRA board chairman, the arrests followed ongoing investigations by the authority alongside other relevant investigative agencies.
“This should neither be characterised as a personal agenda driven by specific individuals within the Authority nor as a scheme targeting groups of categories of staff,” Muthaura said in a statement.
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