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December 17, 2018

Lobby says it has facts in Bidco tax suit

Bidco Oil CEO Vimal Shah.
Bidco Oil CEO Vimal Shah.

A lobby group wants to join a suit filed against manufacturer Bidco Oil and a senator for allegedly scheming to evade paying Sh5.7 billion taxes. The suit was filed by activist Okiya Omtatah against Bidco and its CEO Vimal Shah. Omtatah has accused Bidco of colluding with KRA and the Attorney General to defeat the public interest in recovering the money.

Uhai Lake Forum says it has facts that will assist the court in reaching a just determination. “Uhai Lake Forum, just like any other citizen, has a legitimate expectation from KRA to collect taxes transparently to enable the government to offer services to Kenyans,” lawyer Marceline Sande said.

The group said its participation will “not prejudice any party but foster openness, accountability and add value in the litigation.” Sande said serious issues of law have been raised in the petition.


False records in the 1990s

Omtatah cites a ruling issued by Justice David Mjanja in 2012 allowing KRA to collect tax arrears and other fees amounting to Sh1.3 billion from Bidco Africa.

“The overdue tax, plus the interest and penalties remain uncollected to date in circumstances that point to collusion to evade tax, involving Bidco Africa, Vimal Shah and KRA,” he says in an affidavit.

Omtatah says the company allegedly made incorrect statements and gave falsified records in the 1990s. Senator Henry ole Ndiema, who served as a civil servant in the Finance ministry in the 1990s, is said to have broken the law when he allegedly exempted Bidco Africa from paying taxes.

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