Kenya Revenue Authority’s much heralded Simba system is meant to reduce loss of Government revenue by cutting out avenues for corruption and ensuring faster and more efficient service delivery.
And in a broad sense, Simba has been a success but it is doubtful even KRA itself would say the system is foolproof: any technology is only as good as those entrusted to use it.
This last point is important because of the rising numbers of stolen cars linked to identity theft. Specialist police units trained to track stolen cars are increasingly coming across cases where such a vehicle has two registered owners.
This can only happen if there is collusion between the thieves and KRA staff who have access to the system that stores the details of every vehicle bought and sold in Kenya.
Just like in the case of banks where some staff sell to fraudsters exclusive information on clients’ accounts, only KRA staff have intimate knowledge of where to go and what to look for when one needs a logbook in a hurry.
It appears the rewards of taking such a risk far outweigh the penalties if caught in the illegal act.
While carjacking is still common, police are warning that theft of vehicles from parking lots, especially certain models from Japan, are on the increase in tandem with the number of high-rise apartments. The thieves are not what you would expect.
Most are university graduates or students and live among their victims for up to two months before striking. By the time the police track the vehicles, their registration plates and colors have been altered and they have new logbooks.