James Githii Mburu is the Chairman and Commissioner General of the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).
He was appointed to the role on June 6, 2019 but assumed office on July 1, 2019 to effectively kick off his three-year term at the helm of the taxman.
Mburu has over 23 years of experience in tax administration, finance, policy, strategy development and implementation and in training and development.
His rise to the top of KRA was effectively backed by experience he had gathered, having worked at the KRA for over 12 years where he has headed various departments.
Background and Education
He pursued his secondary education at Kianyaga High School in Kirinyaga County.
Mburu attended Kenyatta University from 1993 and graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Accounting.
He later attended the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) between 2011 and 2012 and graduated with a Master of Science in Public Policy and Analysis.
Mburu is also a Certified Public Accountant.
As of June 2019, he was reported to be 49 years old.
He has had stints at CFC Bank and also worked as a technical standards officer at the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK).
For a period of 10 months between May 2007 and February 2008, Mburu worked as the Head of Audit Policy at KRA.
He was later promoted to Head of Audit-Large Taxpayers Office and served at the capacity for five years between March 2008 and December 2013.
He was the Head of Tax Investigation at KRA between December 2013 and March 2017.
Mburu was later promoted to the role of Commissioner of Intelligence & Strategic Operations and served for two years between March 2017 and June 2019.
As Commissioner of Intelligence & Strategic Operations, he was mandated with promoting ethical conduct at KRA and combating tax evasion through intelligence collection and management.
On June 6, 2019, he was appointed Chairman and Commissioner General at KRA. His appointment took effect on July 1, 2019, upon the retirement of former KRA Commissioner General, John Njiraini.
While Chief of Intelligence, Mburu was a feared man, among tax cheats. He established a ruthless intelligence collection scheme that nabbed and cornered many tax offenders.
During his tenure, he has overseen complex and highly sensitive tax investigations involving powerful individuals and well connected companies.
His stern oversight attracted legal suits including petitions by activist Omkiya Omtata who sought to block his appointment both as Commissioner of Intelligence and subsequently as Commissioner General.
Reports in 2019 indicated that there were efforts both externally and within KRA, seeking to block him from ascending to the role of Commissioner General.
Through the intelligence network, Mburu set up, high profile tax evasion schemes have been thwarted and offenders brought to book.
In 2017, he foiled a tax evasion attempt by Darasa Investments Limited in which taxes in excess of Ksh3 billion would have been lost through the importation of irregular duty-free sugar.
In 2018, he busted a multi-billion shilling tax evasion scheme by Chinese building materials retailer Housemart. The case is still in court.
Over the course of his tenure high profile individuals that have been charged for tax evasion include former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero and his lawyer Professor Tom Ojienda, both of whom are fighting off multi-million tax evasion charges.
He also brought forth tax evasion charges against billionaire businessman Humphrey Kariuki’s Africa Spirits factory. Mburu’s investigations into the tax evasion scheme, corruption and fraudulent activities at the Thika based company led to the arrest of close to eighty KRA staff.