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City CFO entangled in Ojienda KRA case

Nairobi lawyer Tom Ojienda is being investigated by KRA for allegedly under-declaring taxes on legal fees paid to his law firm. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Nairobi lawyer Tom Ojienda is being investigated by KRA for allegedly under-declaring taxes on legal fees paid to his law firm. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Nairobi County Secretary Robert Ayisi has been sucked into the taxman’s war with city lawyer Tom Ojienda for allegedly refusing to produce documents relating to legal fees paid by City Hall.

Dr Ayisi, also the chief financial officer, has obtained a temporary court order barring the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) from arresting him or demanding that he produce the documents.

The county secretary argues that the documents the KRA is demanding were carted away by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) detectives last year and are yet to be returned to City Hall, hence he is unable to produce them.

The KRA in its response says its requests to Dr Ayisi to record a statement with its investigators went unanswered. KRA officer Cyrell Wagunda argues that Dr Ayisi did not mention anything about the documents being in the possession of the EACC in previous correspondence.

The taxman adds that officers sent to talk to Dr Ayisi at his office in September last year were sent away as he was busy.

The KRA is investigating Prof Ojienda for allegedly under-declaring taxes on legal fees paid to his law firm for representing Nairobi City County in several court cases.

“It is unreasonable for the KRA to insist that Dr Ayisi produce documents which he already explained were taken away by the EACC and never returned to Nairobi county government. Curious is the fact that the same documents can be obtained from Prof Ojienda but for some reason the respondent has never sought the same from Prof Ojienda himself,” Dr Ayisi says.

Dr Ayisi says he was arrested and illegally detained at Times Tower on October 4 last year, despite efforts to reason with the officers.

The KRA holds that Dr Ayisi, after his October 4 arrest, agreed to furnish the taxman with the documents it is seeking and that he was released on the basis of the deal.

Dr Ayisi further claims that his arrest was made after Prof Ojienda had obtained temporary orders barring the taxman from investigating him over the alleged tax fraud.

But the KRA argues that at the time it had not been furnished with a copy of the order and was therefore not in violation of any law.

High Court judge  George Odunga has ordered the parties to appear before him on June 13 for hearing.

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