Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) in collaboration with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is hosting the second session of the Africa Academy on Tax and Financial Crimes Investigation at the Kenya School of monetary studies (KSMS).
The training seeks to strengthen the capacity of tax and financial crime investigators in tackling illicit financial flows. It has drawn participants from 12 countries in Africa. Other participants include GIZ, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance and G20.
The goal of the training is to enhance the capacity and skills of tax and financial crime investigators in Value Added Tax (VAT) fraud, asset recovery and emerging issues in tax crime investigation.
Speaking during the opening ceremony, KRA Commissioner for Intelligence and Strategic Operations Githii Mburu said: “If we do not cooperate in exchanging information and working together as neighbours, we may end up encouraging these fraudsters.”
“I find this course extremely helpful especially in building the capacity of African governments in tackling VAT fraud and enhancing domestic revenue mobilization,” he added.
OECD Programme Manager Juergen Leske thanked KRA for the vision of establishing such an academy in Africa. He noted that the participants will be equipped with skills to address challenges faced in Financial Crime Investigation.
He noted that financial crimes are cross border in nature and emphasized the need for international cooperation. “Value Added Tax, for example, is used in 160 countries worldwide. Therefore, VAT financial crimes require inter-agency government approach to be resolved,” he said, adding that, “sharing information in such financial crimes is critical.”
Currently, the academy is funded through a partnership between KRA, German and Italian governments with OECD providing the faculty for the training. Other governments including the UK and Canada have expressed interest in supporting the programme.
The training brings together high-level policy makers, tax and financial crime investigators, prosecutors, financial analysts, and judicial officials drawn from both Anglophone and Francophone African countries to deliberate on the solutions to tax and financial crimes which result in tremendous loss to the African economy.
Participants will acquire in-depth understanding of the key skills required for conducting financial investigations, including the ability to follow the money through complex financial arrangements and how to effectively use sophisticated techniques to identify links between suspects and their illicit activities.
According to the 2015 Mbeki report on illicit financial flows from Africa, the continent loses in excess of US$50 billion annually to illegal transactions. Illicit financial flows (IFF) thrive in a climate of secrecy, inadequate legal frameworks, lax regulation, poor enforcement, and weak inter-agency co-operation.
The Africa Academy Programme for Tax and Financial Crime Investigation was launched at the 2017 G20 Africa Partnership conference in Berlin, Germany. Its vision is to provide demand-driven training addressing the specific needs of African countries and building on Africa-wide experiences and best practices in tackling illicit financial flows in a dynamic and challenging environment.
The Tax and Financial Crime Investigations Academy is aligned to KRA in its strategy towards the enhancement of capacity to address tax crime investigation.