MPs can be compelled to pay taxes

October 21, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 21- Kenyans can now institute court proceedings to compel Members of Parliament to remit taxes because non-compliance constitutes a contravention of the new Constitution.

A legal expert Ashford Mugwuku said on Thursday that MPs should have started remitting taxes on their pay immediately after the new Constitution was promulgated in August 27.
"The Constitution is supreme.  Whatever arrangements they may have had with his Excellency the President or the Prime Minister or as a Cabinet can only hold water or make any sense if it is in accordance with the law," he said in reference to a deal the MPs made not to increase their salaries on condition that they would be exempted from paying taxes even with a new constitutional order.

The deal was made in July this year when the MPs wanted to increase their salaries to Sh1.2million in basic pay and allowances up from the current Sh851,000.

"If there was any deal between them that they would not pay taxes that is an illegal and unconstitutional deal which doesn\’t shield them" Mr Mugwuku said.

He told Capital News in an interview that the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) was guilty of failure to comply with the new law to collect taxes from the MPs.

"There is nothing special about Members of Parliament. They took an oath of office to uphold the Constitution and to defend it," he stated.

 "If they are not complying with the provision of the constitution regarding taxes, then it\’s absurd that they are the same people who are now very busy forming commissions and all those committees for the implementation of the new Constitution," he said.

KRA Commissioner General Michael Waweru earlier this week indicated that MPs would soon be required to pay taxes.

"Michael Waweru should just stamp his authority because he is protected by the law, he should not wait for the MPs because they will never invite him to collect taxes," Mr Mugwuku said.

Presently, there are only two MPs out of 222 who have voluntarily agreed to remit taxes since last year.


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