The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) board has picked five finalists in the ongoing race to replace outgoing Commissioner-General John Njiraini.
The five top candidates out of a total of 30 applicants comprise tax experts, management specialists, a KRA insider and accountants. Only two female candidates applied, but none made it to the final list, according to KRA board chairman Paul Muthaura. Mr Njiraini’s extended term ends next month.
The finalists include the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK) national chairman Julius Mwatu, KRA Commissioner for Intelligence and Strategic Operations, Githii Mburu, former KPMG partner Richard Boro Ndung’u, the Executive Director of the Commonwealth Association of Tax Administrators Duncan Otieno Onduru, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) regional advisor in charge of East and Central Africa on tax matters Andrew Kazora Okello.
“By the closing date thirty applications were received of which 28 were from male candidates and two from female candidates,” said Mr Muthaura in a notice posted on local dailies on Tuesday.
He asked the public to provide any relevant information on the individuals to enable the recruitment process. The chief taxman from the top five finalists shall be appointed by the National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich upon the recommendation of the KRA Board.
Mr Njiraini’s looming exit in June has triggered a fierce behind-the-scenes succession race for one of Kenya’s most coveted public offices.
The KRA board had enlisted the services of consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to recruit Mr Njiraini’s replacement.
Njiraini’s successor is being sought at a time the agency is under pressure from the executive to collect additional revenue.
KRA has perennially missed its targets and faces the colossal task of raising enough revenue to finance the government’s Sh2.9 trillion budget.
KRA is also under-ongoing a reorganisation of its KRA’s senior management team under the watch of Mr Muthaura, the former head of Public Service, who was appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta to serve as KRA chairman until October 20, 2019.
The board recently named Mr Kevin Safari as the new commissioner for Customs and Border Control after the position fell vacant following the exit of Mr Julius Musyoki.
It also named Ms Elizabeth Odundo Meyo as the commissioner for domestic taxes, a position that deputy commissioner Ruth Wachira had been holding in an acting capacity since July 6, last year.
This followed the exit of Benson Korongo whose contract was not renewed.
The new team is expected to help the taxman grow collections to Sh1.997 trillion in the year starting July and Sh2.298 trillion in the 2020-21 fiscal year under its corporate plan launched in January.
Mr Njiraini’s departure will end a seven-year stint at the Times Tower corner office. He was appointed to lead KRA in 2012 by President Uhuru Kenyatta, who was then Minister of Finance.