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Interviews to pick top KRA bosses kick off

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 16 – Three days of interviews to pick the top commissioners at the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) begun on Monday, heralding a change of guard at the organisation.

The board is seeking to fill the positions of Commissioner General, Commissioner for Domestic Tax Department of Large Tax Payers Office and Commissioner Custom Service, which will fall vacant between March and April this year.

“Yes the board begins the interviews for the post of the Commissioner General today,” KRA’s Senior Deputy Commissioner in-charge of Marketing and Communication Kennedy Onyonyi confirmed.

Seven people including four current KRA staff have been short listed for the Commissioner General’s position, with the successful candidate taking over from Michael Waweru who has been at the helm of the KRA for the past eight years and whose tenure expires in March this year.

Onyonyi disclosed that the board would interview other applicants for the various commissioners’ posts on Tuesday (January 17) and Wednesday (January 18).

The board advertised for positions in the local dailies in December 2011 marking the first time in the revenue collecting body’s history that candidates who have met the required criteria have been invited to apply.

Although the names of the short-listed applicants were published in the papers, there has been general consensus that overall, the process has been shrouded in mystery.

This lack of transparency has raised a storm with the Consumers Federation of Kenya (Cofek) for instance calling for the search to be done afresh.

The call stems from the fact that the board will conduct close-door interviews and also because it did not release a program of which of the candidates would appear before it and when.

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Notwithstanding that the KRA board maintains that theirs is not constitutional office and as such is not obligated to have such sessions in the open, the consumer lobby group insists that the public has a say in the goings at the tax body since it determines how revenues are collected in the country.

“The interviews will be conducted the same way they have always been done before but they will be as transparent as possible,” Onyonyi added.

This assurance has however not been good enough for Cofek which has threatened to go to court if it ascertains that the process was not credible and transparent.

After the three-day interviews, the board will deliberate and grade the candidates but once again, no one knows when the best candidate will be announced ‘as it is its prerogative to do so.’

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