Governor Joseph Lenku on Wednesday condemned the alleged destruction of county structures by Tata Chemicals Ltd in Magadi last Saturday.
Lenku reacting for the first time in a statement sent to newsrooms claimed significant amounts of hard-earned taxpayers funds went down the drain.
“This was an unprovoked criminal act by Tata Chemicals Magadi Ltd. This incident was immediately reported to the police and I look forward to swift action on this criminal activity,” said Lenku in his statement.
Tata Chemical Magadi Ltd and the county government are embroiled in a tag of war caused by the former for allegedly refusing to pay more than Sh17 billion in land rates dating back to 2013.
On Saturday, the company fattened structures belonging to the county government on claims they were constructed on their leased property.
The county secretary, Francis Sakuda, claims they had approached and even made a formal letter requesting Tata Chemicals to give them space for the construction of ward offices in Magadi town.
This happened after Tata Chemicals had acquired a court injunction on January 31 preventing the county government from trespassing or constructing structures on her property.
Lenku said the decision to put up an administrative office was necessitated by the dire need to ease delivery of services for the people of Magadi ward.
“It was reached on January 17 following a consultative public meeting between the county government, the people of Magadi and Tata Chemicals Ltd,” he said.
The governor further said the company sits on 224, 991 acres of land and thousands of local people are resident within the said land.
“We have always sought and determined to engage the company as well as other investors in a formal and civil manner. In fact on January 22, at the county government behest, a meeting was held in my office between us and Tata’s top officials,” said Lenku.
He said like all other devolved units, the county government of Kajiado enacted the county Finance act that governs levies applicable to different activities within the county.
On the other hand, Tata Chemicals says it has been making losses for the last seven years and has never reneged on its corporate social responsibility over the period.
But Lenku insisted that all investors, including Tata Chemicals Magadi Ltd, are bound by the county Finance Act and other legislation.
“Unfortunately, this company has defaulted to a tune of Sh17 billion. It is only fair, and indeed legitimate expectation of the people of Kajiado, that these arrears are settled,” said Lenku.