Kenya has become increasingly exposed to illicit and counterfeit goods, hence the need to take an all-round approach towards curbing this menace that is robbing our economy much-needed revenue.
Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), Anti-Counterfeit Agency (ACA), The Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs), Ministry of Health, National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (Nacada), National Police Service, National Environment Management Authority (Nema) and Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company have in the past one month increased the vigour in combatting counterfeit products trade.
The multi-agency approach in the fight against illicit trade, which is part of financial crime, is bearing fruit and will eventually lead to fair trade within the market. Consumers will also be protected from substandard and potentially harmful goods.
To holistically combat financial crimes, KRA and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have embarked on training officers to equip them with requisite skills to effectively seal loopholes in financial crimes.
The training focuses on Conducting and Managing Financial Investigations Programme and is in its third phase. The OECD Pilot Africa Academy for Tax and Financial Crime Investigation training, whose third phase kicked off early this month, is backed by the OECD as well as Italy and Germany embassies.
KRA is excited and confident the skills acquired at the training will improve the ability of tax crime investigators to detect and combat tax offences and other financial crimes, including money laundering and corruption.
The OECD programme is aligned to KRA’s strategy that spells out enhancement of capacity to address tax crime investigation. It is worth mentioning that at KRA, we recognise that effective intelligence collection is key to successful interdiction of tax crimes. This is the reason we established a fully fledged and broad based intelligence management department with a variety of functions that include intelligence collection on tax evasion and corruption.
This initiative is vital, not only for Kenya but for Africa, given the growing importance of domestic resource mobilisation, especially for developing countries. The training comes in the wake of increasing financial crimes across Africa, threatening the continent’s ability to become self-sufficient in terms of resource mobilisation through tax collection.
One component of economic crimes is financial and tax frauds, which pose a threat to our security as illicit financial flows are often sources of funding for terrorist organisations.
We are optimistic the knowledge gained and the exchange that took place during the first and second phases of the programme will come in handy for all participants in combating tax and money frauds.
An estimated 50 participants from more than 18 countries across Africa are expected to take part in the training, which kicked off at The Kenya School of Monetary Studies.
Some participants are experts in tax and financial crime investigation, while others are prosecutors, financial analysts, and judicial officers. The course is steered by an international faculty of senior and experienced tax crime investigators and financial crime experts drawn from Germany, Norway, United States, United Kingdom and Uganda.
We have the potential to mitigate against the aforementioned challenges to an extensive level through equipping our tax investigators with the right skills required to combat the elephant in the room. Therefore, the benefits encapsulated in the programmes offered by the Tax and Financial Crime Investigation Academy cannot be overstated.
Apart from equipping ourselves with skills as tax crime investigators, this programme will keep us posted by increasing our awareness on the current risks and trends. This training offers an apt platform for us to learn and share these new trends for successful annihilation of this menace.
The vices at hand are a global menace and our success to effectively deal with them calls for cooperation and joint efforts from all the concerned stakeholders. Therefore, this training is of great essence because it will be a foundation stone to our cooperation from agency to agency and country to country level.
Granted, the outcome of this programme is the requisite fodder we need to successfully deal with the menace of tax and financial crimes. As we focus on strengthening the skills of our officers, we urge you as Kenyans to join our hands in this programme by being alert and steering away from substandard products. It would also be helpful for us to be non-tolerant to crime by reporting any financial related crime. – Writer is Commissioner for Intelligence and Strategic Operations Department at Kenya Revenue Authority