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Africa tax experts in Nairobi target illicit money       

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Tax experts from 12 African countries met in Kenya on Tuesday to improve their skills in combating illicit financial flows to prevent governments from losing revenue to tax fraudsters.

The event is the second session of the Africa Academy on Tax and Financial Crimes Investigation.

“We are essentially building the capacity of criminal tax investigators to curb illicit financial flows,” said Githii Mburu, the Kenya Revenue Authority’s commissioner for Intelligence and Strategic Operations during the second day of training on Tuesday.

The training has been organized by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) in collaboration with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies in the capital Nairobi.

“The training seeks to strengthen the capacity of tax and financial crime investigators in tackling illicit financial flows,” said Githii.

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.

OECD Program Manager Juergen Leske termed the establishment of such an academy in Africa by the KRA as a “visionary step.”

“Financial crimes are cross-border in nature,” Leske said. “Value added tax, for example, is used in 160 countries worldwide. Therefore, VAT financial crimes require inter-agency government approach to be resolved.”

“Sharing information in such financial crimes is critical,” he said.

The academy is funded through a partnership between the KRA, German and Italian governments, with OECD providing the faculty for the training. Other governments, including those of Britain and Canada, have expressed interest in supporting the program.

The training brings together high-level policymakers, tax and financial crime investigators, prosecutors, financial analysts, and judicial officials drawn from both Anglophone and Francophone African countries to deliberate on solutions to tax and financial crimes that result in tremendous loss to the African economy.

Participants will acquire in-depth understanding of 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 a 2015 report on illicit financial flows from Africa, the continent loses more than 50 billion U.S. dollars annually to illegal transactions.

The Africa Academy Program for Tax and Financial Crime Investigation was launched at the 2017 G20 Africa Partnership conference in Berlin, Germany.


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