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BAT scandal: We received letter from Raila office, no action was taken, says KRA

No action was taken to suspend freezing Mastermind Tobacco Kenya’s accounts as asked by the Office of the Prime Minister, KRA has said.

CEO John Njiraini said tax demands against MTK were legitimate and “are not influenced by any party and will be defended at the right forum in the Tax Tribunal courts”.

“Tax matters are handled strictly in accordance with the legal provisions of which taxpayers or their appointed tax consultants are well appraised,” Njiraini said in a statement on Thursday.

In a letter dated May 4, 2010, former PM Raila Odinga “intervened” to stop Kenya Revenue Authority from freezing Mastermind’s accounts over non payment of taxes amounting to billions.

Njiraini urged all parties who feel aggrieved by the commission’s demands to avoid advancing partisan positions and “to await the rulings of the property mandated organs”.

“We consider ongoing public commentary on MTK tax issues to border on contempt of the property constituted judicial processes.”

This comes after the office of the Prime Minister wrote to then KRA boss Michael Waweru to “immediately suspend notices issued to Mastermind Kenya asking for payment within 50 days”.

Raila was Prime Minister at the time.

“You are requested to put on hold the enforcement action you have instituted against Mastermind Tobacco Kenya Limited in order to facilitate further review of the matter,” read the letter signed by acting PS Andrew Mondoh.

On December 23, the EACC said it will investigate the scandal surrounding British American Tobacco and MTK after they were invited by KRA.

Njiraini said the Authority held discussions with EACC after media reports highlighted “alleged unethical relations between staff of BAT and unspecified staff at KRA.

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