The defaulted land rates date back to 2013 and accrue from the company’s 224,991 acres, where it operates and extracts soda ash in Magadi, Kajiado West.
Tata Chemicals, formerly Magadi Soda, owes the county the Sh17 billion calculated at a rate of Sh14,000 per acre as per the Finance Act.
However, the company’s executive director, Harish Nair speaking to the Star on Thursday termed the debt allegations made by the county as ‘malicious and ill-founded’.
“We are bound by Tata Code of Conduct, and we ensure compliance to all laws and full transparency in all our business dealings,” claimed Nair.
He said Tata Chemicals and Kajiado county have worked together on various projects including lease rates, which have all been agreed.
Sources at the county government claim the arrears had been negotiated downwards in a February 2015 ‘secret deal’ aimed at cushioning the company from collapse following the increasing rate arrears.
The alleged deal, which Tata Chemicals has denied, would remit about Sh27 million every year to the county and not the Sh3.1 billion as per the current Finance Act.
However, Tata Chemicals Ltd landed in trouble after the current administration rejected the agreement with governor Joseph Ole Lenku saying the deal in 2015 was an ‘act of fraud’ against the People of Kajiado.
County Director of Revenue David Muntet refused to discuss the Sh17 billion arrears in detail and referred the media to Governor Lenku.
- “Yes, it is true Tata Chemicals owes us billions of shillings but the matter is being handled internally,” Muntet said.