NLC chairperson nominee cleared of tax default claims
President Uhuru Kenyatta’s nominee for the National Land Commission (NLC) chairperson post Gershom Otachi sighed with relief Friday after Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) cleared him over alleged tax default.
KRA said Otachi had a valid tax clearance certificate even as another nominee was declared non-tax compliant hence not qualified to hold public office.
The authority's Commissioner General James Mburu told MPs the tax compliance certificate held by former Isiolo Woman Representative Tiya Galgalo, who has been nominated as a commissioner, is fake.
Mburu said KRA has initiated internal investigations to ascertain how she got a clearance certificate yet she has not been filing her tax returns as required by the law.
In his presentation before the lawmakers, Mburu said despite Galgalo filing nil returns in 2017 and 2018, she later declared that she had earned Sh8 million from the Parliamentary Service Commission and Sh3 million from her county.
“We have started our investigation in order to establish who helped her in obtaining the fake compliance certificate, it cannot be valid until we verify the details by Tuesday,” he said.
But while appearing before the committee for vetting, Galgalo defended herself, saying she did not take part in any form of fraud as her compliance certificate was sent to her on November 23, 2018 after she applied for it online
“I have not generated this document myself. I applied online and the certificate was sent to me via my mail, not at any one time did I obtain this document through corruption,” she said.
And on the fate of Otachi, who is set to replace Mohamed Swazuri if he gets the approval from the committee and the House, Mburu told the legislators that he had since complied with all set regulations and thus was tax compliant.
Mburu had been summoned by MPs in the Lands committee to shed light on the matter after there was confusion as to whether Otachi has a valid certificate.
The move came after two different tax compliance certificate were issued with one indicating that Otachi had been cleared and another showing otherwise.
Otachi presented a tax compliant certificate dated June 12, 2019 showing he is tax compliant while in another communication from KRA at the request of committee’s secretariat indicated that he had not been cleared.
Apart from the two, the committee also vetted Hubbie Huseein Al-Haji and Alister Murimi Mutugi for the position of commissioners.
Al-Haji was taken to task to explain why she had conflicting marital status in the questionnaire she had filed in which she indicated she was divorced while in her curriculum vitae she said she was married.
“I want to clarify that I am a divorced woman, I don’t have any husband at the moment. I am sorry the CV has not been updated. I was married to one of the former commissioners but we divorced and I want to assure the committee that the former commissioners will not have any influence on me,” she said.