President William Ruto has appointed Eng. Anthony Ng’anga Mwaura as the new chairman of the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA). Ng’ang’a previously served as chair of the elections board at the United Democratic Alliance (UDA), the party that propelled Ruto to power in the 2022 polls.
Mwaura’s appointment was confirmed in a gazette notice dated November 17th. He will serve for a term of three years. Two of his construction companies were implicated in the Ksh357 million saga that rocked City Hall under impeached former governor Mike Sonko, and Mwaura has been battling to overturn an order freezing his bank accounts and seizing nine vehicles.
Ng’ang’a will take over at KRA from veteran public administrator Francis Muthaura. Muthaura’s term as chair of the KRA board was in 2019 extended for 3 years by former President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The new role puts Ng’ang’a in a central position to steering the taxman’s direction not only to meet revenue targets but also to align with the Kenya Kwanza administration’s proposed policies on taxation.
Ruto and DP Rigathi Gachagua led a chorus against high handedness by KRA in their campaigns, promising to put an end to business closures and other tactics used by KRA against businesses accused of escaping their tax obligations. For instance, both President Ruto and his rival Raila Odinga railed against the KRA over the closure of Keroche Breweries.
Keroche founder Tabitha Karanja was elected Nakuru Senator on a UDA ticket. She has been one of the strongest voices against KRA’s practices, accusing it of crippling businesses that support the livelihoods of countless employees.
The new administration earlier this month also announced the reopening of 26 other alcohol manufacturers shut down during former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration ostensibly over tax claims.
“The issue of closing factories for taxpayers who are suffering is a thing of the past because it is foolish. The issue of tax notices and agency notices where you close accounts, if you shut down an account for six months (and) somebody cannot do business, where will you collect tax the following year? When you shut down a factory, those employees lose their jobs (yet) they were paying Paye (Pay As You Earn tax), where will you get the money from?” DP Gachagua asserted.
In the new round of appointments, Ruto also named former Taita Taveta governor John Mruttu the chairperson of the Agricultural Finance Corporation. He will replace former Cabinet minister Franklin Bett.
Halima Yussuf Mucheke was appointed chairperson of the Tourism Regulatory Authority and Hamisi Mwaguya as the chair of the Kenya Maritime Authority. Halima, a former nominated MP, unsuccessfully ran contested the Igembe North parliamentary seat on a UDA ticket.