Human rights groups have moved to court seeking orders to compel 209 MPs to pay tax.
Retired Presbyterian Church of East Africa minister Timothy Njoya and six human rights groups filed a constitutional reference seeking to reverse a directive to all permanent secretaries to refund all taxes deducted from ministers and their assistants.
The petitioners argued the MPs had a public duty to pay tax as required under the new Constitution endorsed by Kenyans in August last year. (READ: Lobby asks MPs to pay tax or face court battle)
The seven told vacation judge Wanjiru Karanja that the taxpayers would be relieved of the burden of funding the free primary education, teachers salaries, settling internally displaced persons and providing food to the starving if all MPs remitted their taxes.
The applicants also said that the head of the Public Service directed that MPs taxes be paid from the Consolidated Fund.
Lawyer Anthony Aluoch, who filed the case under a certificate of urgency, told the judge that “unless the case is heard and orders prayed for granted, taxpayers run the risk of being saddled with payment of MPs tax obligations following the directive by the Head of Public Service.”
President Kibaki, Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Vice- President Kalonzo Musyoka have paid their tax arrears.
On average, each MP owes the taxman Sh1.9 million in backdated taxes.
The judge certified the case as urgent and directed that it be heard on September 8.