LSK to sue Yatani for tax tribunal appointments


National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani addressing the media at parliament buildings after unveiling the Sh3.3 trillion Budget on April 7, 2022. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG

The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) plans to sue the Cabinet Secretary for National Treasury, Ukur Yattani, over alleged illegal appointment of 18 members of the Tax Appeals Tribunal.

LSK argues that the CS does not have the authority and powers to make the appointments and his latest decision on the same is unlawful as it amounts to usurpation of powers reserved for the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

In a letter to the CS informing him about the intended legal action, the lawyers have indicated that appointment and removal of the Tribunal members is mandate of the JSC.

Through its president Erick Theuri, LSK says the CS lost powers to make the appointments following the coming into force of The Tax Appeals Tribunal (Amendment) Act (2021). The amended Act was assented on February 21, 2022 and came into force on March 24, 2022.

Interestingly, the LSK says the amendment came to force a day prior to the publication of the gazette notice in which CS Yatanni announced the disputed appointments. "We therefore urge you to revoke the said appointment and de-gazette the said members to allow the JSC to make the requisite appointment pursuant to the enabling law," says Mr Theuri.

He asked six members of the LSK, who were among those appointed to the Tribunal, to turn down the job "as they have a duty to at all times uphold the law".

They include lawyers Bila Helen Winifred Achieng, Mursat Mahat Somane, Mutava Catherine Ngina, Patrick Lutta Odongo, Bosire Nyamori and Ouko Chabeda Mary Reba Maleya.

Some of the amendments to the Act included transforming the Tax Appeals Tribunal from an institution under the Ministry of National Treasury to an independent body under the JSC.