Two charged with tax eva­sion over im­ports of pricey ve­hi­cles

Gi­r­i­mani and Opanga are al­leged to be the key mas­ter­minds be­hind the racket of fraud­u­lent im­por­ta­tion and regis­tra­tion of ve­hi­cles with­out pay­ment of req­ui­site taxes

The Star (Kenya) - - Politics - ALPHONCE MUNG’AHU @TheS­tarKenya

A Kenya Rev­enue Author­ity cus­toms of­fi­cer be­lieved to be part of a car­tel that evades pay­ing taxes when im­port­ing high-end ve­hi­cles was yes­ter­day charged in a Nairobi court.

Ge­orge Opanga was charged along­side busi­ness­man Elijah Gi­r­i­mani be­fore chief mag­is­trate Daniel Ogembo. Both de­nied sev­eral counts of con­spir­acy to evade taxes, buy­ing un­cus­tomed goods and fraud­u­lently in­ter­fer­ing with the KRA Simba on­line sys­tem.

The mag­is­trate, how­ever, or­dered the two to be re­manded at the Rail­ways po­lice sta­tion un­til Fri­day after the KRA prose­cu­tor asked for five days, so po­lice can com­plete in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

Gi­r­i­mani and Opanga are al­leged to be the key mas­ter­minds be­hind the racket in­volv­ing the fraud­u­lent im­por­ta­tion and regis­tra­tion of mo­tor ve­hi­cles with­out pay­ment of req­ui­site taxes. Opanga is ac­cused of con­spir­ing with oth­ers not be­fore the court to evade pay­ment of Sh6.5 mil­lion im­port duty in re­spect of a Range Rover on July 16 at the Jomo Keny­atta In­ter­na­tional Air­port Cus­toms Ware­house.

He was also said to have al­tered the KRA Simba on­line sys­tem to re­flect that the im­port duty had been paid via cus­toms en­try num­ber F 147 of the said ve­hi­cle.

Gi­r­i­mani is ac­cused of procur­ing un­cus­tomed goods, though he knew duty amount­ing to Sh4,565,789 had not been paid on Au­gust 2 at the Na­tional Trans­port and Safety Author­ity of­fices along Up­per Hill Road, Nairobi.

He de­nied that be­tween July 8 and Au­gust 2, he con­spired with oth­ers to pro­cure un­cus­tomed goods, thereby de­fraud­ing the Com­mis­sioner of Cus­toms of more than Sh4.5 mil­lion.

The pros­e­cu­tion also al­leges that Gi­r­i­mani also failed to reg­is­ter a Land Cruiser to evade Sh1,548,038 tax, and mak­ing a false dec­la­ra­tion re­gard­ing the same ve­hi­cle. The court was told the ac­cused per­sons were ar­rested on Sun­day af­ter­noon at the Mal­aba border, while at­tempt­ing to leave the coun­try.

The tax col­lec­tor wanted the court to deny the ac­cused bail, say­ing they are a flight risk and their co-as­so­ci­ates are be­ing traced by in­ves­ti­ga­tors.

Last week, the tax­man dereg­is­tered 121 ve­hi­cles, whose own­ers were said to have ac­quired fraud­u­lent regis­tra­tion.

Among those listed for dereg­is­tra­tion was Wa­ter CS Eu­gene Wa­malwa’s Range Rover (reg­is­tered as an Isuzu truck).

The cases will be men­tioned on Fri­day.

PHILIP KAMAKYA

Elijah Gi­r­i­mani and Ge­orge Opanga are led into Mil­i­mani law courts cells yes­ter­day/

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