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Taxpayer Takes Members of Parliament to Court
Posted on Wednesday, December 03, 2008 @ 15:30:46 CST by kwpnews

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By: KNA

A disgruntled Kenyan has gone to court to compel Members of Parliament and other constitutional office holders to pay tax on their allowances and salaries.



Michael Otieno on Wednesday filed a petition at the High Court seeking orders to bar the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and their agents from levying or collecting tax from his salary and allowances unless it collects the same from MPs.

Otieno who moved to court on a certificate of urgency, said in his petition that the move is discriminative, unfair and unconstitutional.

"KRA is the sole agent of government which is mandated by law to levy and collect taxes in Kenya. Therefore it is discriminative, unfair and unconstitutional for KRA to apply their mandate selectively. All Kenyans, be they judges, MPs, Mama Mboga, tailors, engineers, accountants are deemed equal under the constitution," Otieno says.

In a supporting affidavit, Otieno says that it is shocking that the highest paid public servants, who take home in excess of Ksh 800,000 per month in salaries and allowances are afraid to pay tax while the policemen who drive them around and act as their bodyguards pay tax on their paltry Ksh 25,000 salaries.

"This is the highest level of discrimination on the basis of economic and social class," he says.  

He further claims in his petition that Sections 2 and 5 of the National Assembly Remuneration Act Chapter 5 of the laws of Kenya, which determine the salaries and allowances of Members of Parliament are not reasonably justifiable in a democratic country like Kenya and therefore are inconsistent with the Constitution of Kenya's Sections 82 (1), (2), (3), (4), 70(a) and 74(a) 1.

The lawyer representing Otieno Ashford Muriuki said that by bringing the petition before the constitutional court, his client has not refused to pay tax.

"On the contrary, this gentleman is very reasonable. He is saying that he will continue with his national and patriotic duty to pay tax however, he is asking the court through the Registrar, to place the tax on his salary and allowances in an escrow account accessible only to the Court until this matter is determined", Mr. Muriuki told the press.

Otieno wants the High Court to stop the continued discriminative and unfair application of KRA's mandate which he said was a violation of his fundamental human rights as a law abiding citizen of Kenya and also wants the court to compel KRA to pay for the cost of the petition.

He also wants the court to declare sections 2 and 5 of the National Assembly Remuneration Act inconsistent with the Constitution and therefore a nullity.

He further wants the court to direct that salaries and allowances of the Members of Parliament and other constitutional office holders be subjected to tax under the Income Tax Act.

On Tuesday, the Parliamentary Service Commission-PSC appointed an independent body of experts to review and make recommendations on the salaries and allowances of MPs with a view to taxing them.

The decision came after deliberations by the PSC at county hall chaired by House speaker Kenneth Marende.

Members of parliament have come under criticism for not paying taxes on their allowances as they maintained there is no law allowing for their allowances to be taxed.

Only their basic salary of 200,000 shillings is subject to a tax of 53,000 shillings


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