Njiraini buys more time in row over his term at KRA
The uncertainty surrounding the tenure of Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Commissioner-General John Njiraini is bound to drag on for at least another month.
This is after the Industrial Court on Friday failed to hear a case in which activist Okiya Omtatah wants Mr Njiraini out for having attained the mandatory retirement age and his term lapsed at the beginning of this month.
Counties to take Sh18 billion budget cut as revenue falls
Njiraini’s legal team asked for more time to prepare their defence after Omtatah amended his case where he is now asking the court to determine if KRA should be allowed to extend his term given that the Government policy dubbed Mwongozo bars such a move.
“There were new documents that had been filed and Njiraini’s counsel said they needed more time to respond. The matter was moved to next month,” Mr Omatath told The Standard.
Reports indicate that the KRA board recently offered the KRA boss a one-year extension on his contract, although he has remained mum on the matter, choosing to fight it out in court.
Sources in Government and Times Towers told The Standard that the board made the decision following a directive from the president, although it was not clear if he had accepted the offer.
“I am not sure about the period extended but he has been retained with an extension on his contract,” a Treasury source said.
The activist had asked the court to compel the KRA board and Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich to appoint an acting commissioner-general and send Njiraini, who turned 60 on December 20, last year, on terminal leave.
But Industrial Court Judge Nelson Abuodha declined to grant interim orders for Njiraini’s removal and instead said he would issue the final verdict in the main case, adding that he had powers to order KRA to recover any money paid to Njiraini should he find that he stayed in office irregularly.
Governors: Why we rejected law on tax by National Treasury
Should Mr Njiraini be allowed to stay on at the helm of the tax body, which faces a fall Sh84 billion revenue shortfall this financial year, it would be in contravention of the Mwongozo policy.
Mwongozo expressly provides for the tenure of chief executive officers to be three-year terms or as otherwise provided under any other written law and renewable only once subject to performance evaluated by the board.
Effective April 1, 2009, the mandatory retirement age of 60 years was also extended to all public officers with the exception of judges, academic staff in public universities, research scientists and public servants with disabilities.
Central Bank’s Deputy Governor Sheila M’mbijiwe is also set to exit the helm of the chief lender after she attained the mandatory age for retirement last week.
Mr Njiraini has been at the helm of the tax authority since March 2012 following his appointment by President Uhuru Kenyatta, then the Finance Minister.
The KRA board retained him in March 2015 for a second three-year term.
Beware: Power, fuel to go up again!
Rotich said recently KRA would be instrumental in getting the country out of the huge budget hole by implementing administrative reforms, including customs scanning to increase revenues.
The taxman has also been under mounting pressure to increase revenue collection.
By the end of December last year, total cumulative revenue, including appropriation in aid collected amounted to Sh709.4 billion against a target of Sh777.7 billion.
The performance was below target by Sh68.3 billion