• Sources claim some senior officials who want to be seen as performers have choreographed the arrests of their juniors.
• Board chairman Francis Muthaura says no witch-hunt in the arrests.
A section of Kenya Revenue Authority staff claims that the arrests of the over 80 of their colleagues were instigated by the race to succeed the outgoing commissioner general.
According to KRA sources, some senior officials hell-bent on succeeding John Njiraini have orchestrated the arrests.
“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,” a source told the Star on condition of anonymity.
Njiraini's tenure is set to end next month. This has opened the succession race at one of Kenya’s most coveted public offices.
On Monday, 38 KRA officials were arraigned for aiding and abetting tax evasion but did not take pleas.
Instead, the police were allowed to hold them for another 14 days as they continue with their investigation.
Yesterday, they moved to court to challenge their detention.
Fifteen other officials were arraigned yesterday. The prosecution sought to detain them for 21 days to finalise investigations.
Intelligence sources told the Star that KRA officials are now planning a go-slow to protest the arrests of their colleagues by the Director of Criminal Investigations.
“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,” a source said.
However, KRA has come out to reassure its officers that the arrests were not a witch-hunt.
According to KRA board chairman Francis Muthaura, the arrests followed ongoing investigations by the authority alongside investigative agencies.
“This should neither be characterised as a personal agenda driven by specific individuals within the Authority nor as a scheme targeting groups or categories of staff,” Muthaura said in a statement.
(Edited by O. Owino)