Expat taxman gets the cash flowing

From Global development | The Guardian Fri Nov 30 2012, 07:00:04

The Irishman overhauling a corrupt tax system is gradually smashing down the obstacles to Burundi's self-sufficiency

When Kieran Holmes was appointed to overhaul Burundi's corrupt tax system, he set exams for more than 2,000 job applicants and his team marked the papers in his basement: he was determined the process would be squeaky clean.

The 59-year-old Irishman then "smashed every wall in sight" at the tax headquarters in Burundi's capital Bujumbura. He wanted to remove the walls dividing offices so employees could see and be seen, part of his effort to encourage a culture of openness.

He installed new software, simplified filing procedures, cracked down on tax avoiders, and set about changing mindsets in a country still coming to terms with the rule of law after the civil war finally petered out in 2008.

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