KRA in bid to withdraw Sh2.2bn tax evasion claims against Ruto ally

Mary Wambui Mungai. PHOTO | POOL

Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) on Monday launched a bid to withdraw a Sh2.2 billion tax evasion suit against businesswoman Mary Wambui Mungai who was appointed by President William Ruto as chairperson of the Communication Authority of Kenya.

The anti-corruption court in Nairobi heard that Ms Wambui and the taxman have concluded the negotiations that started in October this year.

This comes on a day when an activist sought to block her appointment at the communication regulator citing the tax evasion suit and failure to meet qualifications for the top job.

The KRA talks were on the review of the tax payable after the businesswoman raised an objection to the amount of Sh2.2 billion being claimed by the authority.

But the intention of KRA to withdraw the case was delayed by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji who asked for 30 days to review the KRA’s decision and evidence.

“We received a letter on November 23, 2022, indicating that the notice of objection by the taxpayer had been considered. KRA said it has made substantial progress in the negotiations and an out-of-court settlement is being considered in this regard. Upon receiving the letter, we did not have sufficient time to consider the information under review of the matter,” said prosecutor Judy Thuguri.

Ms Wambui together with her daughter Purity Njoki and their trading company Purma Holdings Limited were arraigned in December last year over allegations of evading taxes.

The trader, who has made a fortune from big-ticket State tenders in agencies such as the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) and the military, is known in political circles as Wambui wa Ruto, due to her close association with the Deputy President, especially at the height of the 2013 and the 2017 elections.

She once hid in Weston Hotel, which is associated with Dr Ruto, when KRA pushed for her arrest over the tax evasion case.

Trial magistrate Felix Kombo yesterday granted the DPP 30 days to conclude reviewing the decision of the KRA and the evidence. The case is scheduled to be mentioned on January 10, 2023.

Ms Wambui’s lawyers, Nelson Havi and Dr Adrian Kamotho Njenga had protested the delayed withdrawal and the DPP’s move to ask for more time.

An activist has sued over Ms Wambui’s last week appointment, arguing that she does not meet the minimum qualification to serve as chair of the communication regulator.

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