KRA chief, Humphrey Wattanga, skips MPs' summons 14 times

Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Commissioner General Humphrey Wattanga Mulongo.


Parliament has summoned the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Commissioner General Humphrey Wattanga after skipping its invitations for the 14th consecutive time over queries on whether the agency has met the ethnic composition requirement for its staff.

The National Assembly’s committee on Cohesion and Equal Opportunity said it will formally issue summons to Mr Wattanga to respond to the employment diversity and compliance with the 30 percent reservations of public procurement to the disadvantaged groups of women, youth and persons with disabilities.

“This is the 14th consecutive time that the Commissioner General has snubbed our invitations. We are not going to listen to you or extend another invitation. We will issue summons,” Adan Haji, who chairs the committee said.

“He has to adduce evidence in person on the ethnic diversity of the KRA. The Commissioner General appears to be passing the back to a junior officer which is unacceptable.”

Mr Wattanga sent Ms Nancy Ng’etich, the acting commissioner, Corporate Support Services Department to represent him in answering questions raised by the committee.

“We are directing that the Commissioner General appears in person. You have consistently appeared here and you have indicated that you cannot be at the level of the Commissioner General in terms of accountability,” Mr Haji said.

“We are not going to write another invitation. You have been invited 14 times and the Commissioner has failed to honour our invites. We will issue summonses. Go and tell the Commissioner to await our letter.”

Ms Ng’etich told MPs that she was ready to make a presentation on behalf of Mr Wattanga but cannot take accountability at the level of the Commissioner General.

“I am ready to proceed but I cannot take responsibility. I want to give our commitment to appear when the Commissioner General is available,” Ms Ng’etich said before the committee adjourned the sitting.

The committee is seeking to ascertain whether the KRA has met the constitutional requirements that not more than a third of the ethnic community should occupy jobs in a public entity.

The law requires ethnic balance in the public service to make it reflect the face of Kenya.

In 2019, the KRA revealed that management positions at the authority are dominated by executives from Central Kenya.

The report on ethnic diversity at the tax agency revealed that the Central region had 50 or 37.59 per cent of the management job despite accounting for 17.33 per cent of Kenya’s population.

At the time, the region also accounted for 29.69 percent of the middle-level staff management, underlining the disparities in the ethnic composition of the civil service and State-owned agencies.

Under the diversity policy for State Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) released in December 2015 by the Public Service Commission (PSC), ethnic groups whose job representation surpasses their corresponding national population proportion are considered over-represented.

The diversity policy was expected to tackle the problem of over-representation by setting hiring quotas for ethnic groups and disadvantaged classes such as the disabled.

On top management, Nyanza region comes in second with a 12.03 percent share of the 133 executive jobs against its population representation of 10.58 percent, which is over-represented by 1.45 percentage points.

Rift Valley is underrepresented at 6.88 percent, Western (0.32 per cent) and Eastern (0.40 percent).

Central Kenya has occupied the Commissioner-General’s job at KRA over the past 16 years.

President William Ruto appointed Humphrey Wattanga Mulongo as the Commissioner General for KRA on August 22, 2023, following the resignation of James Githii Mburu on February 23, 2023.

Chief executives of State-owned firms tend to influence the employment of cronies and kinsmen in the firms they head.

The PSC had earlier proposed assigning recruitment or promotion quotas over a period of time in ministries and State agencies to uplift the underrepresented communities.

The policy was a follow-up to the Public Service (Values and Principles) Act, 2015 which requires ethnic balance in the public service to make it reflect the face of Kenya by balancing the share in favour of smaller tribes historically marginalised.

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