President Uhuru Kenyatta appointed Justice (Rtd) Erastus Mwaniki Githinji as the Chairman of Tax Appeals Tribunal.
This controversial appointment has come back to haunt him after the cry from unemployed Kenyans citing the state appointing retirees.
As #Covid19 continues, Treasury CS Your Yatani just appointed a very energetic youth, a 71 year old retired judge, Erastus Mwaniki Githinji who started working in 1976 to Chair the Tax Appeals Tribunal. When this is all over, Kenya will be gone.
? courtesy pic.twitter.com/WJ4lCZMrnU
— juma G. ?? (@jumaf3) April 22, 2020
In a Kenya Gazette Notice dated April 15, 2020, National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani appointed Githinji to the position for a period of five years.
But a section of Kenya’s legal minds has termed Githinji’s appointment as illegal.
Taking to Twitter Senior Counsel Ahmednasir Abdullahi stated that the 71-year-old is not qualified for the job for the simple reason that he is a retired judge.
“This (appointment) OBVIOUSLY is illegal. The person to be appointed chairman of the tribunal ‘must be qualified to be appointed as a judge of the High Court’…and a retired judge is not so qualified, ” said Ahmednasir.
President of the Law Society of Kenya Nelson Havi says it is moronic to appoint a retired judge and it flouts the constitution.
“This is Justice (Rtd) Erastus Mwaniki Githinji. He was admitted to the bar in 1976, a year before I was born. He is 71 years old. He is a retired Court of Appeal Judge and in the COVID-19 vulnerable category. The Government has appointed him Chairman of Tax Appeals Tribunal. It is moronic, ” President of the Law Society of Kenya posted.
This is Justice (Rtd) Erastus Mwaniki Githinji. He was admitted to the bar in 1976, a year before I was born. He is 71 years old. He is a retired CoA Judge and in the Covid-19 vulnerable category. The Government has appointed him Chairman of Tax Appeals Tribunal. It is moronic. pic.twitter.com/iMuTDChLYy
— Nelson Havi (@NelsonHavi) April 22, 2020
The LSK President Nelson Havi says they will go to court to challenge the appointment saying it against all laws of the country.
According to the law, establishing a tax appeal tribunal requires;
i) A chairman and less than 15 or not more than 20 members,
ii) not more than five members of the tribunal appointed shall be advocates of the high court of Kenya.
iii) A person shall not be appointed a chairperson under this section unless that person is qualified to be appointed as a judge of the high court.
Last year, Githinji caused scenes after he sued the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) for sending him to “early retirement”. He argued that the decision to retire him was unlawful. The JSC had issued him with a notice to retire from July 1, 2019, upon attaining the retirement age of 70 for judges.
In his petition, Githinji argued that his date of birth is December 30, 1949, and not January 1, 1949, blaming the mistake on the Public Service Commission (PSC) which only indicated on his job application form the year of birth and not the date.
“This error is not of his making and exposes him to even criminal cases because he might be accused of falsifying his date of birth,” the petition read.
Jubilee administration has in the recent past been criticized over questionable appointments with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s ‘love for the old’ receiving condemnation from the youth. The entire state appointees were looking like a village chiefs office. Kenyan youths are left to hope as the old get appointments.