KRA offices at Times Tower. Photo: Courtesy
The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has come under fire for defying courts in denying the gambling firms licences from MPs and Kenyans online.
Government, through Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB), ordered Safaricom to suspend M-Pesa payment systems and SMS codes of all the non-tax compliant gambling entities starting July 12.
KRA told the Senate that the dispute with betting firms arose after the enactment of the new law that changed the definition of bet winnings, placing new demands on betting firms that are expected to withhold 20 percent of the winnings.
Sportpesa CEO Ronald Karauri. Photo: Courtesy
Betting firms, including SportPesa, Betin Kenya and Bet Pawa, had court orders stopping the withdrawal of their permits following the tax rows.
The Senate Committee on Justice, Legal and Human Rights has accused KRA and BCLB for impunity for suspending operations of the companies as well as to deport some of their directors when the matter was pending before the High Court.
— BusinessDaily (@BD_Africa) August 1, 2019
The committee chaired by Samson Cheragei (Nandi) summoned the BCLB and Interior Secretary Fred Matiang’i for acting against court orders.
Some Kenyans speculate that the state agency was compromised to suspend Sportpesa in order to eliminate the main competition in the gambling industry.
— NICHOLAS Trump OSEKO (@TrumpNicho) August 1, 2019
its shameful that matiangi and @KRACorporate are turning this country to a family entity. KRA kenya ,the biggest looters of our taxtes have the audacity to gag a tax compliant @BetinKenya @SportPesa @betPawaKE . we know odi bets belongs to jimmy kibaki ,and they are working 4 him
— Tonny (@wanyigha) August 1, 2019
This looks like a direct war on @SportPesa and other betting firms How is it a war on betting when Matiangi and his KRA Kenya counterparts have not closed the deposits on some betting licenses like Betlion? Who owns BetLion? Lee Nyachae?
— Benah (@BenahShantoz) August 1, 2019
I don’t agree with KRA Kenya on taxing my money when I win and the company has already paid tax. withholding tax is just exploitation of the winner.
— ken kamathi (@kenkamathi) August 1, 2019
Frustrating Gambling companies by KRA Kenya is not a solutions. Bring back our investors. The Kenyan government are not providing jobs to our youths instead retrenchment is the order of the day. Lubbish!!!!! @Its_Sir_Raymond @Slim_khalifa_ke @Slimkidobinna
— UNDERRATED NINJA (@sir_alfonce) August 1, 2019
From my undestanding of what KRA Kenya, Matiangi & BLCB are doing, they are not saving the youth from effects of betting. The issue is also not taxes. They are under instructions from above to ensure certain betting firms never resume operations.
— Michael (@JumbaMichael) August 1, 2019
KRA kenya should know that there are very many betting options.
Killing betting firms in kenya will not stop pple from gambling in this global village, instead you will be exposing kenyan gamblers to unregulated offshore firms .
— Erick Omondi (@eric_ea) August 1, 2019