Confusion at KRA as Uhuru fires board
President Uhuru Kenyatta has thrown the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) into a spin following the removal of all independent board members.
The President, in a surprise move, replaced board chairman Dr Edward Sambili alongside members Evans Kakai, Constance Kandie and Dr Rashid Ali.
Also removed is Abdi Barre Duale, a brother to National Assembly Majority leader Aden Duale, who unlike his colleagues got a soft landing by getting appointed to chair the Kenya Leather Development Council board.
Dr Sambili has been replaced by Francis Muthaura while Duale’s position has been taken up by Charles Makori Omanga. Other new faces include auditor Mukesh Shah, Eng Leonard Ithau and former KCB Bank chairperson Susan Mudhune, who also serves in the Safaricom PLC board.
Uhuru’s decision has thrown the planned replacement of Commissioner General John Njiraini into disarray as the appointments, though effected on Friday, have been backdated to effectively render a board decision of last Wednesday null and void.
The President has indicated that appointment of Muthaura commences on Tuesday 22nd while that of Omanga commences on 30th May. The term of the three others began on 20th of May.
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Given that Dr Sambili chaired a board meeting on Wednesday 23rd, a day after he was supposedly fired and three days after three of his members had been shown the door going by the gazette notice, questions on whether the board resolution is regular will be raised.
“This technicality means Njiraini may continue to serve until the end of this year since the Wednesday board decision becomes a nullity,” a senior member of KRA stated.
Reports indicate that the new board may hold its first sitting on Tuesday to decide whether to send Njiraini on terminal leave to pave way for recruitment of his replacement or allow him to stay.
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The ousted board had been instructed to commence the process of recruiting a new Commissioner General and their resolve to give Njiraini a two months’ notice may have cost them their job.
Insiders believe that the board became victim of a vicious factional war within the ruling Jubilee party as political interests seem to be hell-bent in influencing who becomes the new boss at Times Tower.
The Sambili-led board had given Njiraini two months’ notice, which would have seen him exit the authority by July in spite of a one-year extension granted in March 2018.
Wednesday’s meeting took place following last week’s directive by Head of Civil Service Joseph Kinyua asking the board to begin the search for a new boss to take over from Njiraini who has been at the helm for over six years now.
Kinyua had told the board in December last year, when they met to send the Commissioner General on terminal leave, to await directions from the presidency.
Njiraini attained the retirement age of 60 last December while his second and final term ended on March 4 this year. Following the move, activist Okiya Omtatah moved to court seeking orders to compel KRA to send Njiraini on terminal leave and appoint someone in acting capacity. The matter is still pending in court.
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