Property market, car dealerships to be targeted in graft war

Second hand cars at shipping yard in Japan. [Courtesy]

A national assessment by the Government on areas that aid corruption is currently underway, a national forum currently undergoing in Nairobi has been told.

Sectors such as real estate and car dealerships are being spruced up through tougher regulations in order to stop corruption proceeds from being directed there.

Saitoti Maika, Director General of the Financial Reporting Center (FRC), said the risk assessment will be used to determine the resources that the state will set aside in the fight against corruption.

“To a large extent, it’s not only the financial institutions that are being used to aid corruption. We are looking at other areas like real estate and the sale of second hand motor vehicles where people trade in cash basis,” Mr Maika said during the forum yesterday.

“Go to Kitengela buy a plot with cash whoever is selling will deposit that money and we’ll never get to know who bought that plot… you being able to buy a vehicle with cash because that sector is not regulated … we are addressing such issues.”

Maika added that the Government is determined to make corruption so expensive by making it costly for people to hide its proceeds.

The Director of the Assets Recovery Agency Muthoni Kimani said that the property market was a key focus area in the recovery of ill-gotten wealth.

She said that most assets are hard to recover due to under-reporting of wealth by Kenyans especially in the property market.

Kenya Revenue Authority Commissioner (KRA) for Intelligence and Strategic Operations Githii Mburu said that KRA's biggest challenge in the fight against tax avoidance was the courts.

“Our biggest challenge in tax collection are those court orders where even before we serve you, you rush to court, get a very generous court official who gives you a reprieve," said Mr Mburu.

“By the time the case is heard, you have taken all the money to Dubai and to Bermuda.”

Attorney General Paul Kihara also recommended that the public be encouraged in identifying graft cases and reporting them. He also warned against the politicisation of corruption.

“We also need to encourage public participation in identifying and tracing assets. This will contribute to the confiscation of ill-gotten wealth from the corrupt,” said Kihara.