Senior Counsel Fred Ngatia was tasked to explain his tax arrears at KRA, high-end vehicles and missing information on his wealth declaration forms.
Ngatia who appeared before the Judicial Service Commission on Tuesday, April 20, to interview for the position of Chief Justice said that despite being wealthy, he did not like to show extravagance, which lawyers in Nairobi are fond of.
"You have said that you have avoided being a conspicuous consumption person. Please explain what you meant because looking at your wealth declaration, I saw very high-end cars listed, isn't that conspicuous consumption?" JSC Chair Olive Mugenda asked.Senior counsel Fred Ngatia appears before the Judiciary Service Commission (JSC) for Chief Justice interviews on Tuesday, April 20
"I meant social circles. I meant that I am not in social circles, I'm not in most of the new approaches to life, I prefer to hold to my own. I prefer the solace of being in a library as contrasted to being in social circles. I'm one of those lawyers who are not on any of the social media platforms, I prefer to hold my peace," he explained.
JSC commissioner Evelyne Olwande then probed the senior counsel as to why the Kenya Revenue Authority had reported that he was not tax compliant.
In his defence, Ngatia said that KRA has accused him of accruing Ksh 1 million in penalties which he paid.
“A week later I was told that during an in-depth assessment, there were some tax arrears and I responded to it. I told Caesar (KRA) that you are entitled to your lawful sum but nothing more,” Ngatia said.
He explained that KRA was seeking tax for income arising from the money he had held on behalf of a client which had accumulated interest after being secured in a fixed deposit account.
Speaking about missing information on his wealth declaration forms, Ngatia said that he was not accustomed to filling the forms since has not worked in the public service which requires one to do so.
The law requires all public servants to submit their declaration of income, assets, and liabilities regularly.
Investigative authorities use the declaration of income, assets and liabilities to track down those involved in shadowy dealings where their declared wealth does match their salaries and other sources of income.
Those who breach the wealth declaration requirement risk fines of up to Ksh 1 million or a year in jail.Fred Ngatia being escorted by the Secretary to the JSC Anne Amadi, at the close of his 5-hour interview session on April 20, 2021File
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