By Shadrack Nyakoe
It can now be revealed that the Kenya Revenue Authority has been in an agreement with governor Johnson Sakaja to ‘help’ the County in revenue collection as it transitions from the services of the Nairobi Metropolitan Services and the tax collecting agency.
In March 2020 KRA took over the role with its officers being given full and unlimited access to county revenue processes, information data and systems.
Shockingly, an ad hoc committee probing revenue collection heard that KRA was still in charge of revenue collection after an agreement with Sakaja.
KRA Deputy Commissioners Annastacia Githuba told the committee that nine commissioners were in charge of revenue collection in Nairobi.
Githuba told the committee chaired by Majority Leader Peter Imwatok that Governor Sakaja on his own personal decision requested that the commission provide nine Commissioners to help “transition the process of revenue collection”
This is despite the lack of any legal framework under which the commission can take charge of revenue collection.
“Yes we agree the deed of transfer ended but governor Sakaja requested KRA to help in the transition process that is why we are still offering our services, ” Githuba said.
The announcement shocked the committee with Imwatok, the chairperson of the Committee noting that the assembly had not approved any extension and termed the move an illegality.
“Madam Anastasia, as Members of this County Assembly, we did not approve such an extension, how comes you decided to enter into an illegal MOU with Sakaja?” Imwatok asked
Members of the committee reminded the KRA officials that the Deed of Transfer of functions the County entered into with the national government ended in 2022.
“Yes we agree the deed of transfer ended but governor Sakaja requested KRA to help in the transition process that is why we are still offering our services, “she insisted.
The KRA officials further revealed that they are not aware where the servers of the revenue systems are located to the shock of the ad hoc committee members.
The revelations sparked concerns with the MCAs suspecting adverse revenue diversion.
The commission said private service providers have total control over revenue management systems, making it difficult to ensure accountability.
In the Nairobi case as revealed by KRA, the commissioners handling revenue collection are domiciled at KICC with the offices being funded by City Hall.
Shockingly, Finance Chief Officer Asha Abdi who was also present in the meeting denied that City Hall is paying rent for the offices.
Governor Sakaja, Finance Executive Charles Kerich and Chief Officer Asha Abdi also have access to the system but with limited rights nicknamed by the MCAs “Wapenzi watazamaji”.
Chief cashier of Nairobi City County Shadrack Nyamai said the county was still using the KRA account which was never deactivated.
Documents that were previously tabled before the ad hoc committee indicated the contract for Nairobi Revenue Services put in place by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) expired in March 2022 but was extended for a further six months to September 2022.
After the expiry of the term of service in September, the taxman handed over the revenue collection function to the county.
In Sepmber 2022, Nairobi Metropolitan Services officially handed over the transferred functions back to City Hall putting Governor Sakaja in full control of the 14 functions of the county.
Githuba’s admission indicates that the county is not fully in charge of revenue adding weight to allegations by Kileleshwa MCA Robert Alai, that some unknown people are in charge of revenue collection in the county.
At Muthurwa for example, it emerged that the revenue officers collect money and have to decide how much to pay to Governor Sakaja’s administration via a paybill number.
The revelations emerged a day after the county’s urban planning and parking fee revenue team during public participation on Wednesday revealed that the county is also losing millions through cash reversals by property holders.
Some of the committee members alluded to possible collusion between property holders, motorists and revenue officers in cash reversals.
Lucy Kanini, the officer in charge of loading zones admitted to the committee that the habit has been going on for a while.
She said that out of the nearly 180,000 properties in the new system, 177,000 are contributing to the revenue pool, leaving a notable gap.