Officials from the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) will now start using wearable cameras, popularly known as body cams, in a bid to curb tax cheating and bribery, the taxman has said.
KRA Commissioner General Githii Mburu on Tuesday said these will be used mainly by staff who work in the domestic tax department and customs and border control.
“Very soon we will also be ensuring our enforcement officers have body-worn cameras, like the ones you see in the US, so that any action they take is recorded and we can see it. When you put it off, we will also have to understand why you do it,” Mr. Mburu told the Business Daily in an interview.
Commonly used by law enforcement officers in the United States, body-cams are typically worn on the torso of the body on the officer’s uniform.
The move comes as the taxman clamps down on a section of its staff who have been accused of helping to fraudulently clear cargo and alter tax returns to help people dodge duty payments.
“This is so that as you engage out there, you do not get involved in activities that will compromise our objectives. We have to employ risk management where our risks are highest, so they will be more for our officers at border points where things are moving in and out and all our custom areas,” Mr. Mburu added.
He noted that the use of cameras will be rolled out beginning with big-ticket places like border points, Mombasa Port, the Inland Container Depot and Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), where cases of theft, cheating in declaration of returns, corruption, and bribery have been witnessed.
Additionally, he disclosed that KRA is planning to improve surveillance on premises producing excisable products such as alcoholic drinks by accessing real-time CCTV feed from factory floors to monitor the movement of products.
The taxman is also planning to install sensors in storage tanks to monitor the usage of raw materials which will inform the volume of finished products, in a bid to fight tax evasion by brewers.
KRA says it loses an estimated Ksh.12 billion every year from excise tax evasion alone.
Last month, the authority netted a record Ksh.181.7, edging closer to its 2021/22 full-year tax revenue targetof Ksh.1.741 trillion.