The Kenyan Revenue Authority (KRA) has appointed Ms Rispah Simiyu the new Commissioner for Domestic Taxes essentially replacing Elizabeth Meyo who headed the department.
“The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Mrs Rispah Simiyu as the new Commissioner for Domestic Taxes”, KRA stated on their website.
Ms Simiyu is the current Deputy Commissioner in charge of the Tax Dispute Resolution.
The statement signed by Board Chairman Ambassador Francis Muthaura says Ms Simiyu assume her new role from 22nd October 2020, after ‘a competitive recruitment exercise conducted by the KRA Board and an external consultant that begun on the 8th of August 2020 attracting 32 applicants with 4 making it to the final level’.
The important department accounts for 65% of KRA revenue collections.
Elizabeth Meyo, whom Ms Simiyu is replacing was mentioned alongside sacked Kevin Safari.
Kevin Safari, who was the Commissioner incharge of Customs & border control was let go in April. He was replaced by Pamela Ahago who was the Deputy Commissioner for Policy, International Affairs.
Kevin Safari was accused of corruption alongside former Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) Boss Daniel Manduku.
Most corrupt docket
Ms Simiyu now joins the most corrupt docket at KRA.
In June 2019, over 80 KRA officials were arrested by the police over what was termed as’aiding tax evasion.
More than three-quarters of the KRA staffers arrested were from this department headed by Elizabeth Meyo.
Mrs Elizabeth Meyo joined KRA in 1996 as an Assistant Inspector in the VAT Department. She was transferred to the Customs & Excise Accounts Division as a senior accountant the following year. She would then serve in different capacities at the VAT Department until 2004 when she was appointed Acting Deputy Commissioner for Strategy and Projects. In 2005, she was confirmed as Deputy Commissioner in Domestic Taxes and from 2005-2018, Mrs Meyo headed different functions in the Domestic Taxes Department, among them Compliance Operations, Large Taxpayers Office (LTO), Central Regional Manager, iTax Data Migration, Public Sector Division and Nairobi & Regional Operations. Before she was appointed Commissioner for Domestic Taxes in April 2019, Mrs Meyo was the head of the Sameer Park Tax Service Office. So this was a familiar area.
Those close to her allege that the arrest of KRA staff came as a shock to her prompting her to use her influence to ensure that her Juniors were released. A source told the chief editor of this blog that during the arrest period, Mrs Meyo would remain in office past midnight, had no time for her family and could not even return calls, messages and emails.
Mrs Meyo was overheard telling some of her close allies that the majority of those arrested were individuals that she personally recruited. They purely get instructions from her. Were these individuals aiding tax evasion on behalf of her?
Elizabeth Meyo is said to be connected with the Odingas and the Kenyattas. She, in several occasions, have personal talks with opposition leader Raila Odinga. A source who did not want to be mentioned on this blog due to sensitivity of the position he holds said it’s Raila Odinga who saved her when KRA staff were arrested.
Another source confirmed that it is Raila Odinga who protected her as the Kikuyus were almost sending her home from the lucrative position she holds at the KRA since her docket is one of the pillars of KRA. Remember, Commissioner Meyo is the only Luo in top position at KRA.