The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Commissioner General Githii Mburu has resigned after a three-year and seven months’ stint at the seat, in what was an expected move following the appointment of Anthony Mwaura as the Board chairman. on the 30th floor of Nairobi’s Times Tower.
“The board has today received the resignation letter of the Commissioner General Githii Mburu who resigned to pursue personal interests,” Mr. Mwaura said.
Mr. Anthony Mwaura who oversaw the UDA elections had a tax evasion case that put KRA at an awkward position when he was appointed to chair its Board.
Before 2020, the new KRA board chairperson was virtually unknown to many Kenyans. This would however change when his companies, Hardi Enterprises and Toddy Civil Engineering Company, were implicated in a City Hall scandal for allegedly receiving irregular payments amounting to Ksh102 million.
The money was allegedly wired to Hardi Enterprises, which distributed it to five of its Equity Bank accounts in various amounts.
In Githii’s place, the board has named the Commissioner of Domestic Taxes, Rispah Simiyu, to serve in an interim role “until the position is substantively and competitively filled.”
In other executive changes, the board named Pamela Ahago to replace Ms. Simiyu at the domestic taxes’ unit in an acting capacity.
Other appointments are David Mwangi as the acting Commissioner of Customs and Border Control, David Yego as Commissioner of Intelligence, Strategic Operations, Investigation and Enforcement, and Nancy Ng’etich as acting Commissioner of Corporate Support Services.
Mohamed Omar, Fred Mugambi and Paul Matuku retain their current posts as commissioners for Strategy Innovation and Risk Management, Kenya School of Revenue Administration and Legal Services and Board Coordination, respectively.
Last month, the Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung’u replaced five of seven directors of the KRA board with Darshan Shah, Wilkister Simiyu, Fancy Too, Michael Kamau Kamiru, and Samir Ibrahim.
He sent home Charles Omanga, Leonard Ithau, Susan Mudhune, Mukesh Shah, and Richard Opembe, leaving Sally Mahihu and Maryann Njau.
By law, the President appoints the chairperson of the KRA board of directors, while the Treasury Cabinet Secretary appoints the rest of the members.
Mr. Mburu was a long-time insider at the KRA’s audit and intelligence units before he was appointed commissioner general in July 2019 to replace John Njiraini.
Mburu’s tenure was characterised by an intensified campaign against individuals and firms for non-tax compliance, has over two decades of experience in tax administration, finance, policy, strategy, development and implementation.
His intense pursuit of alleged tax evaders, especially under the last government, drew the outcry of the current Kenya Kwanza administration, accusing him of intimidation and harassment.
In November last year, Mr. Githii Mburu was appointed as one of three vice chairpersons of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) global tax body. OECD appointed Mr. Mburu to the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes for a three-year term effective January 2023.
Prior to his appointment, KRA would perennially miss targets but he changed its fortunes and it started surpassing its target. The new Kenya Kwanza administration however increased the targets, with the Authority expected to collect Ksh3 trillion in revenue, to help adequately fund the budget and reduce borrowing.
Under Mburu’s reign, KRA’s tax revenue collection grew from Ksh1.607 trillion in FY2019/20 to Ksh2.03 trillion in FY2021/22. This was the first time breaching Ksh2.0 trillion mark.
So far in FY2022/23, tax revenue collection has hit Ksh1,105T, 53.3 percent of the targeted full financial year amount.
He also rolled out new generation excise stamps in December 2021 in line with the provisions of the Excise Duty (Excisable Goods Management System) Regulations of 2017. Today, excise taxes collect an average of Ksh105.4 billion annually.
The Authority also transitioned from the Electronic Tax Register to the Tax Invoice Management System with the sunset date for the transition having been Nov 30th, 2022. KRA expects to bump VAT collections by at least 30.0 percent following the transition.