Pambazuka National seeks to quash tax increase proposal

A company has moved to court seeking orders to stop the government from implementing the 50 per cent levy increase in the betting, lotteries and gaming industry.

Pambazuka National Lottery says the high taxes were announced by National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich without public participation as required by law.

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The company, which got its permit authorising it to participate in public lotteries in July 2016 from the Betting Control And Licensing Board, says industry players heard about the increase for the first time on March 30, 2017 when the Budget statement was read.

“Mr Rotich had issued a Budget Policy Statement dated November 2016 for the financial year 2017/2018 in which there was no mention of an intention to enhance the taxation measures against the betting, lotteries and gaming industry,” Pambazuka says in court papers.

The company argues that only the minister responsible for Betting, Lotteries and Gaming is mandated by law to impose new taxes.

“The minister acted without jurisdiction and was not authorised to take the administrative action and make the decision and proposal in the Budget Statement with respect to the increase of the taxation rates for the betting, lotteries and gaming industry as he is not the minister responsible for the industry under the Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Act, Chapter 131 of the Laws of Kenya and acted in contravention of the law,” it argues.

The firm is seeking to have the court quash the Finance minister’s decision and have the Cabinet Secretary, Interior and National Coordination make regulations with respect to procedures for the consideration, determination, administration and recovery of taxes from betting, lotteries and gaming licencees and permit holders.

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