Kenyan MPs must now pay tax

August 9, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 9 – President Mwai Kibaki and all other public officers as well as Members of Parliament will have their salaries taxed beginning next month once the new Constitution is promulgated.

Legal experts interviewed by Capital News said no public official would be exempted from paying taxes immediately the new law comes into effect.

Senior Counsel Paul Muite said anyone failing to pay taxes immediately after Friday next week – the deadline for promulgation of the new law – would be in breach of the provisions of the new Constitution.

“All of them should know that by now, the President must pay taxes, the Prime Minister, Judges, all Members of Parliament and any other public officials, when it comes to effect immediately on the 20th [of August],” Mr Muite said.

“No one will be exempted, anyone attempting to give a different interpretation on that issue can lead to court action (to seek interpretation),” Muite said.

Article 210(3) of the new Constitution states that no law may exclude or authorise the exclusion of a State officer from payment of tax by reason of (a) the office held by that State officer or (b) the nature of the work of the State officer.

“That culture of some people paying taxes and others not paying is over, everyone is going to be required to pay taxes,” Mr Muite said.

The taxation issue makes members of Parliament among the first casualties of the new Constitution which could be promulgated by the President anytime before August 20. At the expiry of this period, the new the Constitution will automatically become effective.

Legislators have previously made several attempts to increase their salaries at the expense of other tax payers.

A few MPs have in the past bowed to public pressure and opted to voluntarily pay taxes on their salaries.

Lately, the legislators have been trying to have their salaries increased to cushion them from the taxman once the new law is implemented.

The legislators will part with over Sh200,000 in tax following the enactment of the new Constitution.

MPs Johnson Muthama (who already pays tax), Mithika Linturi and Ababu Namwamba said they would gladly join other Kenyans in paying full taxes to their hefty salaries and allowances.

“The culture of impunity is now over with the current Constitution. We have to pay and I am preparing to make my adjustments on this,” Mr Linturi who was among opponents of the new law said on Monday.

“The law has to be followed on this to the exact and there shall not be shortcuts,” added Mr Muthama.

Mr Namwamba also told Capital News: “There shall be no exemption; we will have to pay the taxes.”


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