CS Treasury appoints James Mburu as new KRA boss


James Githii Mburu. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Treasury secretary Thursday appointed James Githii Mburu as the new Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Commissioner-General, taking over from Mr John Njiraini.

In a gazette notice dated June 6, Mr Rotich appointed Mr Mburu for a three-year term effective July 1, 2019, beating other four favourites shortlisted for the job last month.

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) board last month picked five top candidates out of a total of 30 applicants for the job.

The other four finalists included the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK) national chairman Julius Mwatu, former KPMG partner Richard Boro Ndung'u, the Executive Director of the Commonwealth Association of Tax Administrators Duncan Otieno Onduru and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) regional advisor in charge of East and Central Africa on tax matters Andrew Kazora Okello.

Until his appointment on Thursday, Mr Mburu was serving as the taxman's commissioner for Intelligence and Strategic Operations.

The appointment of the new commissioner-general brings to an end a fierce behind-the-scenes succession race for one of Kenya’s most coveted public offices.

Mr Njiraini attained the mandatory retirement age of 60 on December 19, 2017.

Hi tenure at KRA has been a mixed bag of wins and misses.

The former Institute of Certified Public Accountants (Icpak) boss placed his bet on technology and revamped legal systems to enhance tax compliance.

While tax collection has grown consistently over the years, Mr Njiraini has remained under pressure for missing revenue targets set by the Treasury.

Missed targets

Mr Mburu's hiring comes at a time the agency is under pressure from the executive to collect additional revenue.

KRA has perennially missed its targets and faces the colossal task of raising enough revenue to finance the government’s Sh2.9 trillion budget.

The taxman is expected to raise close to Sh2 trillion of Treasury Secretary Henry Rotich’ spending plans which seek to pump Sh1.66 trillion into recurrent expenditure between July 2019 and June 2020

KRA is also under-ongoing a reorganisation of its KRA’s senior management team under the watch of Mr Muthaura, the former head of Public Service, who was appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta to serve as KRA chairman until October 20, 2019.

The board recently named Mr Kevin Safari as the new commissioner for Customs and Border Control after the position fell vacant following the exit of Mr Julius Musyoki.

It also named Ms Elizabeth Odundo Meyo as the commissioner for domestic taxes, a position that deputy commissioner Ruth Wachira had been holding in an acting capacity since July 6, last year.