Kenyan High Court demands outgoing lawmakers pay unpaid taxes

January 18, 2013

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Kenya's High Court on Thursday (January 17th) authorised the Kenya Revenue Authority to collect taxes from individuals, including parliamentarians, who have avoided payment in the past, Kenya's Daily Nation reported.

High Court Judge Weldon Korir ruled that the National Assembly Remuneration Act, which exempts lawmakers from paying taxes, was nullified by the adoption of the 2010 constitution, which says lawmakers must pay taxes.

"The country is coming from a background of greed and financial misappropriation," Korir said. "Public money has in the past not always been applied in its intended purpose for the development of a country and it is for this reason that principles of public finance were included in the constitution."

Last year, 18 human rights group members filed a constitutional reference seeking a declaration that all state officers were under an obligation to pay taxes. Korir said that all working persons in the country indeed have such an obligation.

Kenyan lawmakers have come under increased scrutiny this year, as outgoing members of parliament were criticised for twice voting to give themselves large send-off bonuses, measures that were both vetoed by President Mwai Kibaki.

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