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Five make the cut in battle for top KRA job

By Geoffrey Mosoku | May 29th 2019
KRA Commissioner General John Njiraini when he appeared before the National Assembly Public Accounts Committee.

Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Commissioner for Intelligence and Strategic Operations James Mburu is the only insider in the running to succeed his boss John Njiriani.

Mburu has been shortlisted alongside four career tax experts in the race for the corner office at Times Tower.

They are Chairman of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya Julius Mwatu, former KPMG East Africa Chief Executive Officer Richard Ndung’u and London-based Commonwealth Association of Tax Administrators executive director Duncan Ondoru.

Also making the shortlist is former KRA Commissioner for Domestic Taxes Andrew Okello who is the International Monetary Fund (IMF) regional advisor in charge of East and Central Africa on tax matters.

Mr Mburu who is an insider is hoping to succeed Njiraini, whose six-year term ended on March 3, last year but controversially got an extension despite having retained the mandatory retirement age. 

Mr Okello, who has also had a long stint in government and at KRA, in particular, also stands him in good stead to take the top job.

According to KRA, out of 30 candidates who beat the deadline to apply for the job, only two women showed interest in the job.

The taxman had hired the services of audit firm, PriceWaterhouse Coopers (PwC), as recruitment consultants for the application exercise that closed on the 29th of last month.

“The applications were scrutinised for conformity with the requirements published in media advertisements following which the KRA board approved five candidates for attendance of final interviews,” said the KRA board in an advert appearing in the dailies yesterday.

The KRA board has now asked persons with information that can help assess the suitability of the five candidates to write to it before Friday.

The final shortlist signals the imminent exit of Njiriani, who is one of the longest-serving commissioner-generals, having been in the office since March 2012.

Activist Okiya Omtatah’s attempt to remove Njiraini in 2017 fell through after the labour court ruled that he was on a fixed term contract, which is permissible under Section 80(2) of the PSC Act that was exempt from the age limit.

Auditor General Edward Ouko had also said the KRA boss was in office illegally in his audit report of June 30, 2017.

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