Kenya Revenue Authority Commissioner General John Njiraini.

Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Commissioner-General John Njiraini’s office has finally come to a close.

Njiriani’s six-year term was renewed last year after President Uhuru Kenyatta in dramatic circumstances sent panicking the tax man’s board in 2017 as it prepared to replace him. It comes to a close on Monday, March 4.

Njiraini is alleged to have Edward Sambili-led board ostensibly to complete projects he had started. The board had resolved to replace him after he attained the mandatory retirement age of 60 in 2017. He was given a two-month extension after he agreed to forfeit his leave days.

In a dramatic move, Uhuru then replaced Sambili and his team through a Special Kenya Gazette notice. He replaced him with a new board chaired by former Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura, which proceed to give Njiraini a one-month notice.

Though his tenure came to a close on Sunday, the board is yet to find his successor. Media reports had on Monday indicated he was to serve for another six months. It is unlikely to be the case as his office is now said to be under lock and key.

Njiraini’s continued stay in office beyond the retirement age was the subject of a court case by activist Okiya Omtatah.

Omtatah had sought orders to compel KRA to send Njiraini on terminal leave and appoint someone in an acting capacity.

KRA, however, informed the Industrial and Labour Relations Court that the board had given Njiraini a one-year extension in a Mwongozo circular from Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua.

Kinyua scrapped the age and term limits, allowing the top civil servants to work beyond the mandatory retirement age of 60 years. The circular also said the CEOs can serve more than two terms.

In a landmark ruling last Justice Justice Nelson Abuodha said Njirani was appointed on a fixed term contract which is permissible under Section 80(2) of the Public Service Commission Act, which permits appointment of a public officer who has attained the mandatory retirement age to serve on fixed term contract.

“Fixed term contract employees are not pensionable hence not subject to the 60 year retirement age rule. Such persons’ contracts are governed by their instruments of appointment,” he rule.

The Judge added that the Cabinet Secretary Finance has control over performance and strategic direction of KRA including recruitment and retention of staff in certain key positions in order to realize its functions set out under section 5 of the Act.

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The Judge added that Mwongozo and the circulars relied upon by Okiya Omtatah to challenge the extension are policy documents issued by government from time and the intention in most cases is to harmonizse or in certain cases explain departure or variation of any existing policy.

 

 

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