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KRA To Set Up Software To Snoop Into Smart Phones

KRA has disclosed that it will put in place a special software to access data from computers, iPhones, iPads and other smartphones and gadgets.

The authority says that it is setting up an advanced forensic research center that will allow for data mining from hidden accounts and records by taxpayers’ computers and mobile phones and other gadgets to detect tax and financial fraud.

The newly formed intelligence management division comes after a clear shift to online methods of transactions and book keeping by big and small firms alike as opposed to the traditional way of record keeping and accounting.

“A lot of evidence due for gathering during the course of such investigations is in digital form such as e-mails, texts, videos, audio files, images, and other transactional data on hard disks and other storage media,” the agency said in regards to the forensics laboratory.

The shift to online transactions has proved to be problematic for tax audit and investigation teams amid growing tendencies by some firms to hide their actual financial transactions and accounts.

Encryptions and password protection in digital records has proved to be a challenge for tax investigators and auditors seeking to access data from computers or phones seized during investigations into suspected fraud or tax evasion.

“The investigation of such crimes requires sophisticated data acquisition, mining, analytics, storage tools and technical prowess to reconstruct the transactions and provide insights into such crimes,” said the Statement by KRA.

At the budget reading of the financial year that ended in June 30, 2021, KRA set aside Sh31.19 million to acquire an intelligence gathering system as a way of stepping up its war on tax evasion.

This chunk of the budget is set to include the technology to data in smart gadgets and electronic forms of record keeping.

By Jack Odongo