by David Karani
The race to replace John Njiraini as the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Commissioner-General has started earnestly with the shortlisting of five candidates by audit firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC).
The five shortlisted candidates include Julius Waita Mwatu, Richard Boro Ndungu, Andrew Kazora Okello, James Githii Mburu and Duncan Otieno Onduru
On Tuesday, Chairman of the Board published the five names and invited the public to submit information linked to their integrity. The information sought for is in accordance with relevant articles of the Constitution as read together with leadership and integrity act.
The advertisement signals an end to Njiraini’s seven-year stint at the helm of the tax authority which began in March 2012 following his appointment by President Uhuru Kenyatta, then the Finance Minister. He replaced Micheal Waweru.
The Commissioner-General who is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the authority, should be a degree holder from a reputable accredited university, least 15 years’ experience, 10 of which must be at a senior leadership level in large public or private entities.
The incoming Commissioner-General will have his in-tray full given the events of the past few weeks when 38 employees were arrested on suspicion of abetting tax evasion and money laundering. The suspects were arrested on May 10 at KRA Domestic Taxes and Customs and Border Control departments. Police are seeking another 48 KRA officials, said to be part of the alleged criminal enterprise.
A Nairobi court heard on May 13 that information gathered and credible intelligence so far received showed that the suspects were actively involved and colluded with certain taxpayers in a criminal enterprise to evade payment of taxes or reduce tax liability.
Njiraini has presided over one of the longest terms at KRA with little results to show. Many a time, KRA has missed its targets forcing the National Treasury to borrow from the local market to plug the gaps.
It was also during his tenure that iTax was introduced following the sinking of more than sh2 Billion in the failed ITMS.