Uhuru hits out at tax show offs

June 30, 2011 12:16 pm

, In a statement where he appeared to defend MPs who do not have the finances to clear their tax arrears, Mr Kenyatta said the new Constitution had caught the lawmakers mid-stream.

“It is morally wrong for those who have the ability to comply to make a public spectacle and paint negatively other Members of Parliament who may be willing to comply but are unable to immediately do so in a lumpsum payment,” he explained. (Tax arrears are estimated at Sh2 million for MPs).”

He said tax compliance is a constitutional issue that goes beyond any individual’s position.

“Over the past few days, I have received numerous messages both directly and through my Facebook and Twitter accounts by Kenyans asking me whether or not I have paid taxes. In this regard, I would like to clearly state the following. Tax compliance is a constitutional, moral and developmental issue that goes beyond any one individual’s personal position, notwithstanding the fact that some may want to make a public declaration of their paying,” he said.

Mr Kenyatta says millions of Kenyans from all walks of life quietly pay their taxes regularly as it is an obligation for all Kenyans to do so.

“Payment of taxes and indeed the fulfilment of several other obligations under this new Constitution should not degenerate into a political competition but should be regarded as a moral and civic duty of all Kenyans. As we go through this transitional process, this is one amongst many hurdles that we as Kenyans will have to overcome. In the spirit of a new Kenya, let us overcome these hurdles together, as opposed to against one another,” he said.

The deputy premier states that there’s nothing special about any one category of Kenyans fulfilling their civic duties, as the law is very clear on the taxation requirements placed on all citizens.

“The Constitution is also very clear on the taxation requirements that have been placed on all citizens including myself. The consequences of non-compliance are equally well stipulated within our laws. Ultimately, if there are Kenyans who haven’t fulfilled these obligations, it will come to light. However, in as much as this debate is healthy for the country, it should not be conducted on the basis of who has or hasn’t paid but rather on the principle of the matter itself,” he said.

The statement comes days after Prime Minister Raila Odinga caused a stir at the Kenya Revenue Authority’s Times Tower offices on Monday, when he joined the queues to remit his tax arrears.

The Prime Minister queued with other taxpayers and filled out the requisite forms to pay Sh3,392,344 owed to the taxman.

Mr Odinga, who paid arrears based on calculations by the accounts departments in the Office of the Prime Minister and Parliament, said he did so because it was required by the Constitution.

Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka also announced that he would hand in his payments to the Kenya Revenue Authority on Thursday afternoon. Other leaders who have so far cleared their arrears include Assistant Minister Margaret Wanjiru and MPs Gideon Mbuvi (Makadara) and Mutava Musyimi (Gachoka).

They joined Peter Kenneth (Gatanga) and Kangundo’s Johnson Muthama who have been remitting their taxes since 2008.

A section of MPs are however adamant that they will not comply with constitutional requirement: “I am not running for presidency, so I will not pay,” said one MP.

Read more: http://capitalfm.co.ke/news/Kenyanews/Uhuru-hits-out-at-tax-show-offs-13413.html#ixzz1QlD5AfdY
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