NAIROBI, Kenya Apr 12 – The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) says it will seek legal action over the appointment of 18 members of the Tax Appeals Tribunal by National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yattani
In a letter to Yattani, LSK claims the CS has no authority to make these appointments, terming the act unlawful adding that the appointment and removal of the Tribunal members is mandated by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).
LSK President Eric Theuri says the CS lost powers to make the appointments following the coming into force of The Tax Appeals Tribunal (Amendment) Act (2021). The amended Act was assented on February 21, 2022 and came into force on March 24, 2022, a day prior to the publication of the gazette notice of the appointments.
“We therefore urge you to revoke the said appointment and de-gazette the said members to allow the JSC to make the requisite appointment pursuant to the enabling law,” Theuri said.
About six members of the LSK have been appointed to the tribunal, among them lawyers Ouko Chabeda Mary Reba Maleya, Mutava Catherine Ngina, Bila Helen, Winifred Achieng, Mursat Mahat Somane,, Patrick Lutta Odongo and Bosire Nyamori.
The President assented into law the Tax Appeals Tribunal amendment act 2021 last year.
Some of the amendments included transforming the Tax Appeals Tribunal from an institution under your Ministry to an independent institution under the Judiciary.
The Tax Appeals Tribunal is among the 34 tribunals that were to be regularised in compliance with the High Court judgment delivered on March 11 2021 in a petition by activist Okiya Omtata challenging the constitution, composition and operations of local tribunals in Kenya.
The petition sought a declaration that local tribunals are not part of the Executive, nor are they independent adjudicatory bodies, but are subordinate courts which are an integral part of the Judiciary.
As such the JSC should exclusively be responsible for appointing and removing members of the tribunals.