By Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD (Leading Environmental Law Scholar, Policy Advisor, Natural Resources Lawyer and Dispute Resolution Expert from Kenya), Winner of Kenya’s ADR Practitioner of the Year 2021, ADR Publisher of the Year 2021, CIArb (Kenya) Lifetime Achievement Award 2021 and Nominee for African Arbitrator of the Year 2022. He is invited as a Guest Speaker at East African International Arbitration Conference 2022 to speak on the theme: Resettling for the New Age of Arbitration in Africa: Climate Change, Global Partnerships & Sustainable Development.*
The unveiling of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015 meant that most developing countries would have to step up their efforts to raise domestic resources to finance needed domestic investment as support from development partners and private sector investors would not be enough. While there are various external mechanisms of funding that are available to countries for exploitation, there is a need for African countries such as Kenya to enhance their domestic resources mobilization mechanisms. Indeed, this is acknowledged by the UNCTAD which points out that ‘strengthening domestic public resource mobilization is crucial for Governments in financing national sustainable development strategies and implementing Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.
In addition, the particular role of fiscal revenues in public resource mobilization lies in their greater stability and predictability compared to other sources of long-term finance. According to International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates, for low-income countries, average domestic taxes would have to increase by about 5 percentage points if they were to meet the SDGs in five key areas (education, health, roads, electricity, and water), with the financing needed in sub-Saharan Africa being larger given their development level. It is also worth pointing out that investment in human, social, and physical capital, are at the core of sustainable and inclusive growth and represent an important share of national budgets—specifically, education, health, roads, electricity, and water and sanitation.
IMF estimates that delivering on the SDG agenda will require additional spending in 2030 of US$0.5 trillion for low-income developing countries and US$2.1 trillion for emerging market economies. To achieve this, IMF points out that countries themselves own the responsibility for achieving the SDGs, especially through reforms to foster sustainable and inclusive growth that will in turn generate the tax revenue needed, and their efforts should focus on strengthening macroeconomic management, combating corruption and improving governance, strengthening transparency and accountability, and fostering enabling business environments.
Arguably, domestic revenues can lead to improved development only if they are translated into productive and beneficial public expenditure. Thus, it is not only revenue collection that is important but also revenue expenditure. There is a need to strengthen institutions charged with combating corruption as well as strengthening the oversight measures across all sectors in order to prevent corruption. This is because corruption elimination cannot be a one-institution affair. It must involve all stakeholders of good will as well as political good will from all governance institutions in both public and private sectors. This is the only way to not only ensure that revenues or development resources are raised but are also well utilized towards achieving development goals and empowering citizens to be productive and meaningful participants in the development agenda.
Capacity-Building in Revenue Collection and Management
It has been argued that increasing tax revenues in low-income countries is essential to address future development finance requirements. It has been argued that under different conditions, the policies and reforms associated with aid may increase revenue, through promoting growth, encouraging more efficient tax structures, or supporting reforms to tax administration. Some of the ways through which the World Bank Group is seeking to help developing countries in Sub-Saharan Africa mobilize domestic resources fairly and efficiently include: focusing on administering value-added taxes, removing cost-ineffective tax expenditures, increasing excise taxation, improving property taxation, and closing international tax loopholes for multinationals and wealthy individuals. This is because Sub-Saharan Africa remains the region with the largest number of economies below the minimum desirable tax-to-GDP ratio of 15%.
Mobilizing tax revenue is considered to be key if developing countries are to finance the investments in human capital, health and infrastructure necessary to achieve the World Bank Group’s goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity by 2030. The World Bank observes that relatively low tax collections in the Sub-Saharan Africa region reflect weaknesses in revenue management, including widespread tax exemptions, corruption, and shortfalls in the capacity of tax and customs administrations. It proposes that most African economies can mobilize more in taxes through: better tax administration (including value-added taxes); broadening the tax base by removing cost-ineffective tax expenditures; increasing excise taxes (including on alcohol, tobacco, and soft drinks); introducing efficient carbon-pricing policies and effective property taxation while and closing international tax loopholes that permit aggressive tax avoidance and evasion by multinationals and wealthy individuals; and reducing structural bottlenecks to improve revenue outcomes; improving taxpayers’ trust; and by moving tax administrations to the digital frontier.
Kenya has been taking some steps towards moving tax administration to the digital frontier through such steps as the i-tax platform as well as the introduction of the Digital Service Tax (DST) (that is, Digital Service Tax and Value Added Tax on Digital Marketplace Supply), tax payable on income (gross transaction value) derived or accrued in Kenya from services offered through a digital marketplace. While some key issues have been raised in relation to such measures as the digital service tax, it is a commendable step towards increasing domestic resource mobilization which will hopefully move the country towards reducing its over-reliance on external debts to finance the budget. Notably, the introduction of digital services tax in Kenya follows in the footsteps of such countries as France, India, Singapore, United Kingdom, among others.
The Tax authorities in Kenya may also need to work more towards looping in the informal economy into the tax payment bracket in order to increase its annual collection.81 However, tax measures ought to take into account the rising cost of living and the government should thus make efforts towards ensuring that tax on basic commodities does not affect the poor so much but also continually work towards creating job opportunities for the sake of raising purchasing power as well as having a bigger number of citizens affording and paying taxes.
Trade and Investment for Domestic Resource Mobilization
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development acknowledges that international trade is an engine for inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction, and an important means to achieve the SDGs. 83 There is a need for increases in long-term and high-quality investments which the United Nations argues will lead to a sustainable rise in economic growth, with additional public and private investment and financing required to meet the large investment needs associated with the SDGs, particularly in infrastructure.
Cooperation between National and County Governments
It is worth pointing out that the role of subnational governments in mobilizing revenue as well as in spending on service provision should be part of the broad domestic resource mobilization agenda. The Constitution of Kenya, 2010 provides for a system of devolved government wherein each of the 47 county governments is required to work closely with the National Government in resource mobilization and service provision. There is need to address the corruption issues, huge wage bill as well as working with the private sector in growing the investments portfolio to create job opportunities and put the allocated funds to proper use.
The Public Private Partnerships Act, 2013 which was enacted to provide for the participation of the private sector in the financing, construction, development, operation, or maintenance of infrastructure or development projects of the Government through concession or other contractual arrangements; the establishment of the institutions to regulate, monitor and supervise the implementation of project agreements on infrastructure or development projects and for connected purposes together with other Government initiatives and measures such as the Government Support Measures Policy Document 2018 can go a long way in creating the necessary framework in boosting active participation of the private sector in domestic resource mobilization for the realization of the sustainable development goals and Kenya’s Vision 2030 blueprint. While the public sector remains the dominant funding and financing source of social investment, there is potential for additional private capital flows into SDG sectors, provided there is greater clarity on invested assets and project incentives.
*This article is an extract from the Article “Resource Mobilization for Sustainable Development in Kenya” by Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD, Kenya’s ADR Practitioner of the Year 2021 (Nairobi Legal Awards), ADR Publisher of the Year 2021 and ADR Lifetime Achievement Award 2021 (CIArb Kenya). Dr. Kariuki Muigua is a foremost Environmental Law and Natural Resources Lawyer and Scholar, Sustainable Development Advocate and Conflict Management Expert in Kenya. Dr. Kariuki Muigua is a Senior Lecturer of Environmental Law and Dispute resolution at the University of Nairobi School of Law and The Center for Advanced Studies in Environmental Law and Policy (CASELAP). He has published numerous books and articles on Environmental Law, Environmental Justice Conflict Management, Alternative Dispute Resolution and Sustainable Development. Dr. Muigua is also a Chartered Arbitrator, an Accredited Mediator, the Africa Trustee of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the Managing Partner of Kariuki Muigua & Co. Advocates. Dr. Muigua is recognized among the top 5 leading lawyers and dispute resolution experts in Kenya by the Chambers Global Guide 2022.
Muigua, K., “Resource Mobilization for Sustainable Development in Kenya,” (KMCO, 2021), Available at: http://kmco.co.ke/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Resource-Mobilization-for-Sustainable-Development-in-Kenya-Kariuki-Muigua-24th-March-2021.pdf (accessed on 15th June 2022).
Former KCB Company Secretary Sues Over Unlawful Dismissal
Former KCB Group Company Secretary Joseph Kamau Kania has sued the lender seeking reinstatement or be compensated for illegal sacking almost three years ago. Lawyer Kania was the KCB Group company secretary until restructuring of the lender in 2021 that saw some senior executives dropped.
Through the firm of Senior Counsel Wilfred Nderitu, Kamau wants the court to order KCB Group to unconditionally reinstate him to employment without altering any of the contractual terms until his retirement in December 2025.
In his court documents filed before Employment and Labour Relations Court, the career law banker seeks the court to declare the reorganization of the company structure a nullity and amounted to a violation of his fundamental right to fair labour practices as guaranteed in Article 41(1) of the Constitution. He further wants the court to declare that the position of Group Company Secretary did not at any time cease to exist within the KCB Group structure.
He further urged the Employment Court to declare that the recruitment and appointment of Bonnie Okumu, his former assistant, as the Group Company Secretary, in relation to the contemporaneous termination of his employment, was unprocedural, insufficient and inappropriate to infer a lawful termination of his employment.
“A declaration that the factual and legal circumstances of the Petitioner’s termination of employment were insufficient and inappropriate to infer a redundancy against him, and that any redundancy declared by the KCB Group in relation to him was therefore null, void and of no legal effect and amounted to a violation of his fundamental right to fair labour practices as guaranteed in Article 41(1) of the Constitution,” seeks lawyer Kamau.
Kamau says he was subjected to discriminatory practices by the KCB Bank Group in violation of his fundamental right to equality and freedom from discrimination as guaranteed in Article 27 of the Constitution and the termination of his employment was unfair, unjustified, illegal, null and void.
Lawyer Kamau further seeks the court to declare that the Non-Compete Clause in the 2016 Contract is unenforceable by the KCB Group as against him and is voidable by him as against the Bank ab initio, byreason of the termination of the Petitioner’s employment having been a violation of Articles 41(1) and 47(1) and (2) of the Constitution, and of the Employment Act.
He also wants the Employment Court to find that finding that KCB’s group legal representation by Messrs of Mohammed Muigai LLP Advocates law firm in respect of his claim for unlawful termination of employment resulted in a clear conflict of interest by reason of the fact that a Founding and Senior Partner at the said firm lawyer Mohammed Nyaoga is also the Chairman of the CBK’s Board of Directors.
“A Declaration that the circumstances of KCB’s legal representation by Messrs. Mohammed Muigai LLP Advocates resulted in a violation of the Petitioner’s fundamental right to have the employment dispute decided independently and impartially, as guaranteed in Article 50(1) of the Constitution,” seeks lawyer Kamau.
Kamau is seeking damages against both KCB Group and Central Bank of Kenya jointly and severally for the violation of his constitutional and fundamental right to fair labour practices.
He wants further wants court to declare that CBK is liable to petitioner on account of its breach of statutory duty to effectively regulate KCB Group to ensure that KCB complied with the Central Bank of Kenya Prudential Guidelines and all other Laws, Rules, Codes and Standards, and that, as an issuer of securities, it complied with capital markets legislation.
Kamau through his lawyer Nderitu told the court that he was involved in Shareholder engagement in introducing the Group aide-mémoire that significantly improved the management of the Annual General Meetings, including obtaining approval without voting through the Memorandum and Articles of Association of Kenya Commercial Bank Limited among others.
He said that during his employment at KCB Bank Kenya and with the KCB Group, he initially worked well with former KCB CEO Joseph Oigara until 2016 when the CEO allegedly started sidelining him by removing the legal function from his reporting line.
He further claims he was transferred from the Group’s offices at Kencom House to its offices Upper Hill under the guise that the Petitioner was merely to support the KCB Group Board.
He adds that at that point his roles were given to Okumu for reasons that were not related to work demands. He stated that Oigara at one time proposed that he should leave his role in the KCB Group and go and serve as the Company Secretary of the National Bank of Kenya Limited, a subsidiary of the Group, a suggestion which he disagreed with to Oigara’s utter annoyance.
Kamau stated that his work was thenceforth unfairly discredited, leading to his being taken through a disciplinary process whose intended outcome failed miserably, and the Petitioner was vindicated.
“More specifically, the Petitioner contends that the purported creation of a new organizational structure towards the end of 2020 was in fact Oigara’s orchestration targeted to remove certain individuals by requiring them to undergo interviews in the pretext that new roles were created, and amounted to a further violation of the Petitioner’s fundamental right to fair labour practices under Article 41(1) of the Constitution,” said in his court documents.
He further adds that this sham reorganization demonstrates how the role of the KCB Group Company Secretary purportedly ceased to be and was then very briefly replaced with a new role of the KCB Group General Counsel. The role of KCB Group Company Secretary then ‘resurfaced’ immediately thereafter, in total violation of legal and regulatory requirements.
Court of Appeal Upholds Eviction of Radcliffes from Karen Land
The Court of Appeal has stayed the decision of the Environment and Land Court purporting to reinstate Adrian Radcliffe into possession of the 5.7 Acre Karen Land by Kena Properties Ltd after eviction by the lawful owners in February 2022. Adrian Radcliffe who was evicted by Kena Properties Ltd, the innocent purchaser of the Land for value.
Before his eviction, Mr. Radcliffe had been living on the land as a squatter expatriate for 33 years without paying any rent. Since he moved into the property as a tenant, he only paid deposit for the land in August 1989 despite corresponding severally with the owner of the land. His attempt to acquire the land by adverse possession claim filed in 2005 was dismissed by Court in 2011 on the basis that he has engaged with the owner of the land July 1997 and agreed to buy the land which he failed to do. The High Court [Justice Kalpana Rawal as she then was] concluded that:
“His [Mr. Adrian Radcliffe] averments that he did not have any idea of the whereabouts of the Defendant and that he could possibly be not alive, were not only very sad but mala fide in view of the correspondence on record addressed by him to the Defendant’s wife. I would thus find that the averments made by him to the contrary are untrue looking to the facts of this case.”
On 10th March 2022, Mr. Adrian Radcliffe and Family purported to obtain court orders for reinstatement into the land. However, the Court of Appeal issued an interim stay of execution of the said orders. The Court of Appeal has now granted the application of Kena Properties Ltd and stayed the execution of the Environment and Land Court Order pending the hearing and determination of the Appeal.
The Court also stayed the proceedings at the Environment and Land Court on the matter during the pendency of the Appeal. In effect, the eviction orders issued by the Chief Magistrate Court for eviction of Mr. Adrian Radcliffe in favour of Kena Properties as the purchaser of the property for value were upheld and the company now enjoys unfettered ownership and possession of the suit property until the conclusion of the Appeal.
The Court of Appeal in granting the orders sought by Kena Properties Ltd concurred with Kena Properties Ltd that as the property owner it had an arguable appeal with a high probability of success which would be rendered nugatory if Adrian Radcliffe a trespasser was to resume his unlawful possession of the suit property, erect structures thereon, recklessly use or abuse the said suit property as he deems fit. In any case, that is bound to fundamentally alter the state of the suit property and render it unusable by Kena Properties Ltd as the property owner.
At the same time, the Appellate Court rubbished the argument of Adrian Radcliffe in opposition to the application for stay that he has been in occupation of the suit property for more than 30 years and that he and his family were unlawfully evicted from the suit property on 4th February, 2022. The Court also rejected Radcliffe’s claim that Kena Properties Ltd has no valid title to the suit property and held that as the purchaser, the company was entitled to enjoy ownership and possession of their property during the pendency of the appeal.
The Court dismissed claims of Mr. Adrian Radcliffe that Kena Properties Ltd as the property owner acquired title to the suit property illegally and unprocedurally finding to the contrary. Further, it rejected Adrian Radcliffe’s claim that Kena Properties as the purchaser cannot evict a legal occupier of a property putting paid to the claim that he was a legal occupier at the time of eviction.
As a matter of fact, Mr. Adrian Radcliffe cannot claim to be the legal occupier of the property having attempted to acquire it by adverse possession before the High Court thwarted his fraudulent scheme on 28th February 2011. Mr. Radcliffe did not appeal the 2011 High Court decision meaning it is still the law that he is not the owner of the land nor the legal occupier of the land having attempted to adversely acquire against the interests of the lawful owner who sold it to Kena Properties.
Mr. Adrian Radcliffe is a well-to-do Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) UNICEF consultant and former UN employee (who has been earning hefty House Allowance). Many have wondered why he has been defaulting in paying rent for 33 years on the prime plot of land in Karen while living large and taking his kids to most expensive schools in Kenya. No question, a local Kenyan could never have gotten away with such selfish impunity.
Review: Journal of Conflict Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. 9, No. 1
The Journal of Conflict Management and Sustainable Development, Volume 9, Issue No. 1, which is edited by and published by Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD is out and stays true to the reputation of the journal in providing a platform for scholarly debate on thematic areas in the fields of Conflict Management and Sustainable Development. The current issue published in September 2022 covers diverse topics including Resolving Oil and Gas Disputes in Africa; National Environment Tribunal, Sustainable Development and Access to Justice in Kenya; Protection of Cultural Heritage During War; The Role of Water in the attainment of Sustainable Development in Kenya; Property Rights in Human Biological Materials in Kenya; Nurturing our Wetlands for Biodiversity Conservation; Investor-State Dispute Resolution in a Fast-Paced World; Status of Participation of Women in Mediation; Business of Climate Change and Critical Analysis of World Trade Organization’s Most-Favored Nation (MFN) Treatment.
Dr. Wilfred A. Mutubwa and Eunice Njeri Ng’ang’a in “Resolving Oil and Gas Disputes in an Integrating Africa: An Appraisal of the Role of Regional Arbitration Centres” explore the nature of disputes in the realm of oil and gas in Africa taking a look into the recent continental and sub-regional developments in a bid to establish regional integration. Additionally, it tests the limits of intra-African trade and dispute resolution and the imperatives for the African regional courts and arbitration centres. In “National Environment Tribunal, Sustainable Development and Access to Justice in Kenya,” Dr. Kariuki Muigua discusses the role played by the National Environment Tribunal (NET) in promoting access to justice and enhancing the principles of sustainable development in Kenya. The paper also highlights challenges facing the tribunal and proposes recommendations towards enhancing the effectiveness of the tribunal.
Dr. Kenneth Wyne Mutuma in “Protecting Cultural Heritage in Times of War: A Case for History,” argues that cultural heritage is at the heart of human existence and its preservation even in times of war is sacrosanct. It concludes that it is thus critical for states to take positive and tangible steps to ensure environmental conservation and protection during war within the ambit of the existing international legal framework. In “The Role of Water in the attainment of Sustainable Development in Kenya,” Jack Shivugu critically evaluates the role of water in the attainment of sustainable development in Kenya and argues water plays a critical role in the attainment of the sustainable development goals both in Kenya and at the global stage. The paper interrogates some of the water and Sustainable Development concerns in Kenya including water pollution, water scarcity and climate change and suggests practical ways to enhance the role of water in the Sustainable Development agenda.
Dr. Paul Ogendi in “Collective Property Rights in Human Biological Materials in Kenya,” reflects on property rights in relation to human biological materials obtained from research participants participating in genomic research. He argues that property rights are crucial in genomic research because they can help avoid exploitation or abuse of such precious material by researchers. In “Nurturing our Wetlands for Biodiversity Conservation,” Dr. Kariuki Muigua notes that Wetlands have a vital role in not just delivering ecological services to meet human needs, but also in biodiversity conservation. Wetlands are vital habitat sites for many species and a source of water, both of which contribute to biodiversity protection. The paper examines the role of wetlands in biodiversity conservation and how these wetland resources might be managed to improve biodiversity conservation.
Oseko Louis D. Obure in “Investor-State Dispute Resolution in a Fast-Paced World,” preponderance of disputes between States or States and Investors created need for a robust, effective, and efficient mechanisms not only for the resolution of these disputes but also their prevention. He notes that developing states lead in being parties to Investor-State Disputes (ISD) particularly as respondents. He proceeds to conceptualize and problematize investor-state disputes resolution in a fast-paced world. Lilian N.S. Kong’ani and Dr. Kariuki Muigua in “Status of Participation of Women in Mediation: A case Study of Development Project Conflict in Olkaria IV, Kenya” review the status of participation of women in mediation to resolve conflicts between KenGen and the community. The paper demonstrates a need for further democratization of the mediation processes to cater for more participation of women to enhance the mediation results and offer more sustainable resolutions.
Felix Otieno Odhiambo and Melinda Lorenda Mueni in “The Business of Climate Change: An Analysis of Carbon Trading in Kenya analyses the business of carbon trading in the context of Kenya’s legal framework. The article examines the legal framework that underpins climate change into the Kenyan legal system and provides an exposition of the concept of carbon trading and its various forms. Michael Okello, in “Critical Analysis of World Trade Organisation’s Most-Favored Nation (MFN) Treatment: Prospects, Challenges and Emerging Trends in the 21st Century,” highlights the rationale behind MFN treatment and also restates the vision of multilateral trade to achieve equitable and special interventions with respect to trade in goods, services and trade related intellectual property rights in the affected states.
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Court of Appeal Upholds Eviction of Radcliffes from Karen Land
Review: Journal of Conflict Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. 9, No. 1
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