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Mumbi Girls matron of 33 years found dead, hanging in her sitting room

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Mumbi Girls High School in Murang’a County where the body of the institution's was found in her house on May 21, 2019. It is suspected that she committed suicide. PHOTO | NDUNG'U GACHANE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A matron at Mumbi Girls High School in Murang’a County has been found dead in a case of suspected suicide.

Murang’a County Police Commander Josephat Kinyua told the Nation that the matron’s body was discovered Tuesday morning in her house in the living quarters situated within the school compound.

He said they have launched investigations to establish the cause of death of the 56-yaer-old woman.

“The principal of the school informed the police that they have discovered the body of the school matron identified as Joyce Mwinzi and we have sent officers to the school to collect the body and to start investigations,” Mr Kinyua said.

The body was found hanging in her sitting room on Tuesday morning by the school’s groundsman and a librarian after her husband called them asking about her whereabouts.

According to the school’s principal, Esther Njeri Wambugu, the matron did not report to work on Monday as it was her off day and was supposed to visit her husband in Gatanga Sub-County.

When she failed to show up at their home, her husband called the school’s workers who decided to check on her, only to find her body dangling in the sitting room.

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Ms Wambugu said the matron had worked at the school for 33 years and that she never showed any signs of depression or related illness.

“She has worked in the school for 33 years in different departments and had been giving wise counsel to the girls. I last saw her on Saturday during the school’s prize giving ceremony and she looked jovial and even completed her work as assigned,” the worried principal said.

She added that the matron attended students on Sunday night at 10pm who complained of stomach ache, saying that was her last encounter with the students.

The matron’s husband also worked as a cook at the school but retired at the beginning of this year.

The county police boss lamented over the increased cases of suicides in Murang’a and pleaded with locals to seek better ways of solving their issues instead of committing suicide.

There was tension at the school on Tuesday mid-morning as police officers visited the scene to pick her body.

source:nation.co.ke

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Kenyans wire back Sh1trn in offshore bank accounts

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Wealthy Kenyans have wired back an estimated Sh1 trillion from offshore accounts in the past three years, taking advantage of a tax amnesty offered by the Treasury.

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) in a response to Business Daily queries said the amount was repatriated by some 16,000 applicants who took advantage of the amnesty window during which they were not required to declare the source of their wealth or even account for previous years’ tax arrears.

The amnesty, which was announced by Treasury Secretary Henry Rotich in 2016, is set to close next month.

“We have received over 16,000 applicants with the amount repatriated so far at Sh1,014,058,103,551. The incentive was meant to encourage Kenyans to repatriate their wealth back to the country for purposes of development,” said KRA in a statement.

The amount wired back is more than one third of Kenya’s annual Budget.

Wealthy Kenyans have traditionally stashed wealth abroad to either escape the taxman’s scrutiny or to spread their risks by investing in the more politically and economically stable Western democracies.

A report by an American think tank, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), last year revealed that Kenya’s super-rich were holding more than Sh5 trillion in offshore tax havens across the world.

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Another international report released in 2007 detailed how a corrupt network in the Moi administration looted at least Sh130 billion and stashed it abroad, including in the United Kingdom and South Africa.

The report by risk advisers Kroll and Associates was commissioned by the then President Mwai Kibaki’s administration.

The 110-page report published online detailed how people close to Mr Moi set up shell companies, fronts and secret trusts to siphon away Kenyan taxpayers’ money, which they stashed in banks, real estate and companies in an estimated 30 countries around the world.

With the return into the country of the over Sh1 trillion, the owners of the cash have effectively ‘cleaned’ their wealth and evaded any questions on the source of the money or any tax liabilities that may have been due in the years before they made the declaration.

The colossal amount has, however, not made a visible impact in the economy, raising questions on where the cash has been kept.

Kenyan laws have a narrow scope on taxation of wealth earned abroad, but the amnesty offered a golden opportunity for those who had stashed cash offshore to bring it back without scrutiny.

Deloitte East Africa Tax Partner Fred Omondi said in an interview yesterday that most tax audit firms had not received any significant enquiries from Kenyans willing to repatriate wealth back home.

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“We haven’t seen a lot of uptake of this amnesty given that most income earned abroad is not subject to taxation in Kenya. Until the money is invested here and taxable income generated, there is no tax revenue to expect,” said Mr Omondi.

Mr Rotich, who yesterday did not respond to our queries on the impact that the Sh1 trillion has had on the economy, at the time of the announcement said the amnesty would make the environment more conducive for those willing to reinvest back home.

“Mr Speaker, taxpayers who take up this amnesty shall have all principal taxes, interests and penalties for the year of income, 2016 and the prior year’s automatically remitted in total. In addition, the government shall not follow up on the sources of such income and assets declared,” said the Treasury CS in his 2016 annual Budget Speech.

The incentive has since been extended twice to allow more uptake after potential applicants failed to take advantage fearing they would be subjected to provisions of Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Act.

Mr Rotich last year amended the law to exempt them from the requirement to declare the source of their wealth to the Financial Reporting Centre. He urged taxpayers to take advantage of the amnesty and “clean up their records with KRA”.

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KRA then issued guidelines on the repatriation and signed certificates for those who successfully applied for the repatriation during the period. The tax forgiveness applied only to those who declared income from their wealth abroad, including homes, for the period up to December 2018.

They were expected to file their returns with KRA.

Audit firm Ernst and Young, in its analysis of the amnesty in March 2016, warned that the process was prone to abuse.

“The amnesty should be undertaken with precaution as there is the potential for abuse with respect to money laundering under the pretext of repatriating assets,” the firm wrote a day after KRA held a stakeholders meeting to get feedback on the guidelines provided for the amnesty.

Delloite’s Fred Omondi also said the amnesty could have been used by those seeking to clean their funds before taking them back to the offshore havens with the needed legitimacy granted through the repatriation.

source:businessdaily

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Ramadhan dates stuck at port

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Labourers offload cartons of dates for distribution to poor Muslims in the Coast, Northeastern and Nairobi during the holy Month of Ramadhan, May 7, 2019. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A shortage of dates has been reported in Kenya despite the government’s announcement of a waiver of taxes on goods imported during the holy month of Ramadhan.

The demand for the dates has resulted in higher prices, with Muslim leaders attributing the circumstance to importation delays.

Sheikh Mohamed Khalifa, Organising Secretary of the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK), said importers were yet to collect their consignments from the port of Mombasa.

“We have tried to follow up on the issue … most of business people are yet to clear their cargo at the porT,” he said.

“This has resulted in a shortage. We are not in a position to supply the dates to those in need and to mosques.”

Sheikh Khalifa asked traders to consider the prices, not profit, as Islam does not tolerate exploitation.

“This should apply, not only in the case of dates, but also other food prices.”

In 2018, Treasury Principal Secretary Kamau Thugge said the government would pay taxes on dates imported during the holy month.

The announcement was in a letter signed by Mr Thugge and sent to Kenya Revenue Authority Commissioner-General John Njiraini, Mr Thugge.

The move, a gesture of goodwill to the Muslim community, came after previous attempts by the government to waive taxes on the importation of dates.

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Mohammed Mwaboza, a trader in Mwembe Tayari, sells a kilo of dates at between Sh300 and Sh500 depending on the grade.

Mr Mwaboza said there were no price changes despite the government’s directive.

“Prices are controlled by importers. We are yet to get tax-free dates despite the announcement of the waiver every year during the holy month,” he said.

“I shall only lower the prices only if the government implements its directive.”

A spot check by the Nation found the prices of food and clothing items increased as Muslims entered the third week of fasting.

Ramadhan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, during which Muslims fast from dawn to sunset.

The holy month, which starts with the sighting of the first crescent of a new moon, is marked to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to prophet Muhammad.

This year, Ramadhan began on the evening of May 5 and will end on the evening of June 4, upon confirmation by Chief Kadhi Ahmed Muhdhar.

During the period, Muslims largely eat dates, Mediterranean fruits, when they break their fast as it is easy to digest.

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