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Ex-KRA manager fined Sh2m for soliciting Sh15m bribe

Offered to reduce a company's tax due from Sh439 million to Sh18.6 million.

In Summary

• Robert Ngumi solicited a Sh15 million bribe and received $1,100 (Sh110,000).  

• Magistrate Lawrence Mugambi sentenced Ngumi to 18 months in jail for each of the two counts or pay Sh1 million fine for each count.

Chief Magistrate Lawrence Mugambi at a Milimani court.
Chief Magistrate Lawrence Mugambi at a Milimani court.
Image: FILE

A former Kenya Revenue Authority manager has been fined Sh2 million after he was found guilty of soliciting and receiving a bribe.

Robert Ngumi solicited a Sh15 million bribe and received $1,100 (Sh110,000).  

Magistrate Lawrence Mugambi sentenced Ngumi to 18 months in jail for each of the two counts or pay Sh1 million fine for each count.

 
 

He was charged with four counts but was found guilty on two counts and acquitted on two others.

Court documents show that on March 7, 2014, when he served as manager for domestic taxes, he solicited the Sh15 million from Winfrida Ngumi to issue a letter reducing tax arrears due from her.

Winfrida's company Space and Style Ltd had tax arrears of Sh439 million but the former manager offered to reduce it to Sh18.6 million.

On the second count, he faced the same accusations but with different dates. Ngumi allegedly solicited the bribe on March 11 at Boulevard hotel.

The third count also carries the same offence but on March 17, 2014.

 

On the fourth count, the former manager is accused of receiving the benefit of $1,100 as an inducement from Ngumi on March 17, 2014, at Boulevard Hotel.

 

The prosecution called 11 witnesses to prove its case against the former manager.

 

The court heard that the first meeting between Ngumi and Winfrida was organised by a former tax agent identified as a Mr Waweru and was to take place at Southern Sun hotel on November 14, 2013.

The meeting came after KRA had held met Winfrida over her tax arrears.

A day before the November 14, 2013 meeting, Winfrida reported the issue to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.

The EACC then told her to comply with what the KRA officer wanted but keep them updated always.

“She was told that she would have to record all the encounters to an audio-visual recording device.”

On the day of the meeting, an officer from the EACC was at the hotel covertly perched by the poolside closely watching them.

She placed her recording gadget on the table as they ordered drinks. They broached the subject of the in-depth audit KRA was to carry out in her company over some drinks.

It is at this point that the former manager promised to assist and support Winfrida in the review after the scheduled visit by KRA field officers was carried out.

The meeting ended at 8pm and the woman returned the recording gadget to the EACC officer.

The following day, the audit review meeting by KRA field officers went on at the company’s boardroom. Winfrida participated in that meeting, recorded a video clip and handed it to the EACC.

Nothing significant happened until March 7, 2014 when Winfrida got a phone call requesting a meeting with the former manager at Boulevard Hotel. She rushed there to meet Ngumi.  

She learnt that the former manager was being transferred from Forodha House offices to Times Towers and was under pressure to conclude the audit.

Ngumi promised to assist lower the figure of the audit if Winfrida got him some Sh15 million.

During the hearing, the former manager denied the charges and described the testimonies as a fabricated setup.

However, trial magistrate Lawrence Mugambi found him guilty on two counts.

“In the final analysis, therefore, I am satisfied there is enough evidence by the prosecution to establish corrupt solicitation and receipt of the alleged amount in both counts 1 and 4 beyond reasonable doubts,” held the magistrate.

He added, “I thus find him guilty in counts 1 and 4 and convict him accordingly.”

 

(edited by o. owino)