The man who allegedly exposed a tax evasion scandal at the closed Charterhouse Bank was rewarded for his work.

Finance minister Njeru Githae said the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) rewarded Peter Odhiambo, now living in the United States, for whistleblowing.

But Githae described Odhiambo as a con man who fled to the US on flimsy claims. The minister had earlier defended KRA’s move arguing the law allows the Commissioner General to reward those who give information on people evading tax.

“The Commissioner General is authorised to reward those who provide critical information. That is why we have been able to increase taxes from Sh300 billion in 2002 to Sh1.3 trillion this year,” he stated.

He, however, said the Government will hire the best lawyers in a suit filed against it by Odhiambo.

Odhiambo is suing the Government for Sh2 billion.

He sought refuge in the United States in 2006 citing threats on his life after he allegedly uncovered a multi-billion tax evasion scam.

Odhiambo allegedly exposed a multi-billion shillings tax evasion and money laundering at Charterhouse Bank and shared the information with several government agencies including KRA, the then Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) and the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK).

Disclosed depositors

However, KRA and KACC have absolved the bank from any wrongdoing, stating that Charterhouse Bank had never evaded paying taxes neither had it been used for money laundering activities.  “We are going to get the best lawyers to fight the suit. The Government is not going to pay Sh2 billion,” he added.

The minister was responding to a question in Parliament by Kilome MP Harun Mwau.

The MP wanted the minister to confirm if Peter Odhiambo, a former auditor at Charterhouse Bank Limited disclosed depositors’ accounts information without their consent to KRA for a reward.

Dujis MP Adan Duale wondered why KRA was paying people money to receive secret information.

Copyright : Standard Newspaper