KRA commences probe into BAT Stamp Duty bribery claims

KRA commences probe into BAT Stamp Duty bribery claims

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has started investigations into allegations of British American Tobacco (BAT) trying to influence Excise Duty Stamps tendering so as to easily ‘smuggle’ its products into the country.

In a statement to newsrooms, KRA said following recent media reports that have highlighted alleged unethical relations between staff of BAT and unspecified staff at KRA in respect of two incidents, the authority had contacted the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), who assisted by providing contact Mr. Paul Hopkins, the key person behind the allegations.

The authority said they contacted Hopkins seeking information on the alleged bribery incidents including the identities of those involved.  Hopkins responded indicating his preference to avail the information to an independent third party.

KRA says that it has also contacted the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to seek their involvement and to provide them with Hopkins’ contacts.

“We shall work with EACC to ensure full and proper details are availed and support further investigatory work as required,” read the statement in part.

The authority says it also held discussions with a representative of UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) who have offered to assist with the securing of the information required from the United Kingdom.

“The SFO is also keen to work with KRA in addressing high range motor vehicle smuggling as evidenced by recent interceptions at the Port of Mombasa.”

KRA further stated it had noted allegations to the effect that BAT made attempts to influence the tendering for Excise Tax Stamps in the run-up to the last General Elections.

Further allegations were made to the effect that BAT sought to obtain confidential KRA tender documents to assist in their bidding.

“BAT Kenya, as an entity, has not tendered for the supply of Excise Tax Stamps, in any of the tenders floated by KRA in the past.  Additionally, KRA is not aware whether BAT supported any of the past bids presented by participating companies,” read the statement.

“The present tender for the supply of Excise Tax Stamps and related management systems was awarded to SICPA Security Solutions, SA in December 2012 who emerged the winner out of 21 bidders,” further read the statement. “SICPA is a global leader in the implementation of Excise Tax Management systems with clientele around the world including in major economies such as Brazil, from which KRA gained valuable lessons about the tracking technology, presently in use.”

KRA has sought the EACC’s assistance in obtaining further details from Mr. Paul Hopkins in order to determine further actions required.